Engineer charged with faking inspection reports for parts used in SpaceX rockets

A man from upstate New York has been charged with providing false inspection reports and test certifications for parts used in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as vehicles from other aerospace contractors employed by the Defense Department. The misconduct was brought to light thanks to an investigation from NASA’s inspector general, the FBI, and the Air Force’s office of special investigations.

The man, James Smalley, was a quality assurance engineer at PMI Industries, a machining company in Rochester, New York that makes various aerospace parts. In January of 2018, SpaceX directed the firm SQA Services to do an internal audit, which found that numerous PMI inspection reports and test certifications — used to confirm...

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