After the 2009 and 2011 failures of its respective Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions, NASA introduced within the massive weapons-particularly, their Launch Providers Program and the Justice Department.
The NASA Launch Services Platform investigation led to the involvement of the NASA Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Nasa's Taurus XL rocket was meant to deliver satellites studying the Earth's climate during missions in 2009 and 2011 but its clamshell-like nose structure failed to open and plummeted into the ocean on both occasions.
For 19 years, the metal parts manufacturer falsified thousands of aluminum parts certifications for its numerous clients which include NASA.
At the time, NASA said its launch vehicle malfunctioned: The Taurus rocket's payload fairing failed to separate. The parts of the rocket affected were the aluminium extrusions used in the payload fairing rail frangible joint. The company pleaded guilty on one count of mail fraud and can no longer do business with the USA federal government since September 20, 2015.
The NASA investigation has revealed how a metals manufacturer faked some test results, and the metals were provided to NASA for a satellite build projects. While we do perform our own testing, NASA is not able to retest every single component.
A NASA investigation has identified faulty materials as the cause of two launch failures that cost the agency more than $700 million. Now, it's prevented from ever entering into a contract with the US government again, in addition to fines of $46 million paid to NASA, the Department of Defense, and others. That is why we require and pay for certain components to be tested and certified by the supplier, " said in a statement Jim Norman, NASA's director for Launch Services.
Norman noted that the fraud had resulted not only in financial loss but in "years of people's scientific work" and said their trust in the industry was "severely violated". It is critical that we are able to trust our industry to produce, test and certify materials in accordance with the standards we require. It was ultimately found that aluminum extrusions used were the root cause of the failure. As a effect of the investigation, NASA has suspended SPI from government contracting and has additionally proposed debarring the company permanently.