Tag Archive: nasa

  1. Nasa Uncovers 20-Year Aluminum Scheme That Caused 2 Failed Missions

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    Nasa Uncovers 20-Year Aluminum Scheme That Caused 2 Failed Missions

    Credits: NASA

    In a settlement agreement, an Oregon aluminum extrusion manufacturer, Sapa Profiles, Inc., has agreed to pay $46 million to NASA, the Department of Defense, and others to resolve criminal charges and civil claims relating to a 19-year fraud scheme.

    Federal prosecutors concluded that Hydro Extrusion Portland, Inc., formerly known as Sapa Profiles Inc. (SPI), and its corporate parent, Hydro Extrusion USA, LLC, formerly known as Sapa Extrusions Inc. (SEI), provided falsified certifications for aluminium extrusions. The falsified certificates showed that the aluminium extrusions provided possessed better tensile strength than the supplied parts.

    According to investigators, inferior quality aluminum products from SPI are directly responsible for the loss of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) and Glory missions. In 2009, the OCO failed to reach orbit when the payload fairing covering the satellite didn’t separate from the rocket. The Glory atmospheric science mission in 2011 also failed because the fairing did not separate causing the overweight rocket to crash into the Pacific Ocean.

    In 2015, SPI was suspended from all government contracts when the lab director, who was proven to be the mastermind behind the scheme, pled guilty and was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and had to pay a restitution of over $170,000. This is a fraction of the $700 million and years of people’s scientific work lost.

    “For nearly two decades, SPI and its employees covered up substandard manufacturing processes by brazenly falsifying test results,” said U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “They then provided the false test results to hundreds of customers across the country, all to increase corporate profits and obtain production-based bonuses.  This proposed resolution ensures that the victims of this conduct, including the U.S. military, can replace faulty product put into the supply chain and help recover the costs foisted on taxpayers to investigate this scheme.  I want to thank our partners at NASA-OIG, DCIS, and the FBI for their efforts in helping bring much-needed oversight and reform to these companies.”

    The positive outcome led to remedial implementations when companies obtain government contracts:

    • The implementation of state-of-the-art equipment to automate the tensile testing process
    • Company-wide audits at all U.S. tensile labs
    • Increased resources devoted to compliance and revamping internal quality controls
    • Quality audit processes revamping.
  2. NASA Developing Bug-Repellant Coating To Minimize Airline Fuel Emissions

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    NASA Langley

    NASA Langley

    NASA is looking to save airlines millions of dollars by developing a series of new technologies, with the latest being a bug-repellant coating.

    NASA researchers have determined that bugs splattered on a commercial jet can can decrease fuel efficiency by as much as six percent, essentially disturbing the airflow over the surface.

    In order to conquer the messy situation, NASA is testing a new bug-repellant coating technology that utilizes non-stick materials resulting in bugs sliding right off of a plane.

    Boeing’s specially designed 757 ecoDemonstrator is in charge of testing NASA’s six different coatings at the moment, in order to determine which coating performs best.

  3. Boeing Flies 757 EcoDemonstrator For First Time as Part Of Collaboration With NASA

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    Yesterday, March 17th, Boeing successfully completed the initial functional check flight for its brand new 757 ecoDemonstrator, part of a collaboration with NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project.

    The aircraft was specifically designed to test and evaluate new wing and tail technologies aimed at reducing drag and improving operating efficiency.

    European-based airline group TUI is also a major player involved in the project, responsible for providing the plane itself which is equipped with two wing state-of-the-art design technologies and an active flow control feature in the vertical tail.

    The wing tests will focus on the ability of a wing to maintain low-drag laminar flow by minimizing the insect strikes/residue that builds up along the leading edges.

    The active flow tests, on the other hand, will determine the best way to increase rudder effectiveness in order to enable future planes the ability to feature smaller vertical tails, lower weight, and lower drag, among other things.