NASA’s former head of human spaceflight could face criminal charges over alleged improper communications with Boeing as it bid for billion-dollar moon lander contracts.
Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, reports that the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation of Doug Loverro’s communications with Boeing, and has subpoenaed both the space agency and the aerospace giant.
Loverro, a former Defense Department official, joined NASA last year as head of human exploration and operations — including the Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon — only to abruptly resign six months later.
Neither NASA nor Loverro offered much information about the decision at the time, but reports signaled in the following weeks that the agency was looking into “unusual guidance” provided to Boeing — and whether that information could have improperly assisted its bid to build the agency’s lunar lander.
Loverro, according to the new report, informed a Boeing official that the company’s application was missing some information during a communication blackout in the procurement process.
NASA staff reportedly became concerned after the company submitted an altered bid during the blackout. The agency mysteriously removed Boeing from the bidding process, and ultimately awarded the contracts to SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics.
Loverro’s representatives declined to comment to Reuters, but he acknowledged making “a mistake” in a resignation message to NASA staff this spring.