Bad news for NASA and the Artemis program. Company wilson aerospace sued Boeing for allegedly stealing a critical assembly tool for the SLS rocket motors that power missions to re-deliver astronauts to the moon.

The lawsuit alleges that Boeing committed numerous fraudulent activities to steal technology from suppliers and contractors. And he claims that he managed to hide them thanks to his connections with NASA and the US Department of Defense. The Seattle-based company has denied the allegations, saying they are full of omissions and inaccuracies and that it plans to defend itself in court.

Wilson Aerospace says Boeing hired her for create an accurate tool to install NASA SLS rocket engines. According to him, the convergence of the aircraft giant occurred in March 2014, after they learned that they had developed a special torque wrench. The torque wrench under consideration made it possible to work with nuts and torque devices in confined spaces.

According to the fee Ars TechniqueThe sticking point was a “live demo” hosted by Boeing to show its employees how the tool works. However, Wilson Aerospace claims that some of those involved in the meeting were actually employees of its main competitors. Information that, apparently, was hidden from him at all times.

The lawsuit alleges that Boeing used information from this demonstration as well as plans and developments by Wilson Aerospace. work with your competitors and develop a cheaper torque wrench. The relationship between both companies ended in 2016.

According to the plaintiffs, without their torque wrench, it would have been impossible to correctly (and safely) assemble the four RS-25 engines that propel the SLS rocket into space.

“Without installed and perfectly tuned engines, the rocket would not be able to take off. This posed an existential threat to the entire SLS project, and especially to Boeing’s continued involvement in the lucrative project. put all the components together because the cramped and limited spaces in the tail of the rocket prevented the use of existing Boeing instruments, and other instruments could not calibrate the necessary torque with the extreme accuracy required by NASA for the SLS program.

Wilson Aerospace in its lawsuit against Boeing.

Boeing accused of stealing key SLS rocket engine assembly tool

NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Wilson Aerospace’s accusations against Boeing did not go unnoticed because of their seriousness. In fact, the plaintiffs believe that attempts to copy their torque wrench contributed to many of the technical problems faced by the SLS rocket.. Let’s not forget that its first launch was delayed at least 16 times between 2016 and November 2022 when the Artemis I finally took off.

“Substandard and inadequate Boeing tools have been responsible for the leaks that have occurred in SLS projects and likely led to leaks in the equipment of the Boeing joint venture partner and the licensee,” the lawsuit says.

But this story is far from over. skynews mentions that Wilson Aerospace is not only accusing Boeing of stealing tools for the SLS rocket, but also for the International Space Station. In this sense, the people of Seattle had to appropriate the tools that were subsequently used by the astronauts to install equipment in orbit.

But the accusation goes beyond the obvious theft of projects, since it also points to the implementation of reforms that were considered unnecessary and unsafe. “Boeing not only stole our intellectual property and damaged our company’s reputation. He also abused technology at the expense of astronaut safety, which is more than disgusting,” he said. David WilsonCEO of Wilson Aerospace.

It remains to be seen how the lawsuit against Boeing will develop, but all indications are that it will be a massive legal battle between the parties. Regardless of the decision, this case is putting more pressure on the development of the SLS rocket and NASA Artemis missions. Let’s not forget that a recent internal audit showed the program is 6 years behind schedule and is already costing $6 billion more than planned.

Source: Hiper Textual

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