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Nasa investigation finds supplier fraud caused two rocket launch failures

Tuesday 14th May, 2019

According to an investigation by US space agency Nasa, faulty rocket parts caused two satellite launch missions to fail, causing more than $700 million in losses.

The rockets were intended to deliver satellites studying the Earth's climate, but the nose structure failed to open and they plummeted into the ocean in both instances.

The cause of the failures left engineers puzzled for almost two decades but Nasa released its most detailed account of the failures this week, blaming bad parts purchased from an American metals supplier whose staff faked results about the equipment's ability to cope in space.

Nasa said American metals manufacturer Sapa Profiles Inc falsified thousands of certifications for aluminium parts from 1996 to 2015 during which time they were supplied to hundreds of customers, including Nasa.

Following the announcement, a Department of Justice spokesman said: “Corporate and personal greed perpetuated this fraud against the government and other private customers, and this resolution holds these companies accountable for the harm caused by their scheme”.