- Jul 5, 2009
Sapa Profiles was contracted to manufacture parts for the fairings on two NASA satellite launches—the one in 2009 and another failed launch in 2011. These parts needed to be made of a highly specific aluminum alloy that met rigorous standards for strength and durability, and according to a recent court plea, the company did not do that. Instead, employees at the company faked test results and lied to NASA and other clients.
The end result is that hundreds of parts sent to customers were defective, causing untold billions in damage. The cost of the two failed NASA launches alone was approximately $700 million, and other defrauded clients included the Department of Defense and hundreds of commercial clients.
In addition to the financial damages, the alleged fraud also cost NASA years of scientific experiments with their weather satellites and led to the discontinuation of the Taurus XL rocket used for the launches.