Headlines > News > NASA Selects Ares I Upper Stage Production Contractor

NASA Selects Ares I Upper Stage Production Contractor

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:48 am
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WASHINGTON, (NASA) – NASA on Tuesday selected The Boeing Co., Huntsville, Ala., as the contractor to provide manufacturing support for design and construction of the upper stage of the Ares I rocket. Ares I will launch astronauts to the International Space Station and eventually help return humans to the moon.

Boeing will provide support to a NASA-led design team during the design phase and will be responsible for production of the Ares I upper stage. Boeing will manufacture a ground test article, three flight test units and six production flight units to support NASA’s flight manifest through 2016. Final assembly of the upper stage will take place at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The contract type is cost-plus-award-fee and the period of performance is Sept. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2016. The estimated contract value for design team support and the manufacture of the test units and six production flight units is $514.7 million. The selection resulted from a full and open competition.

Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket that will carry to low Earth orbit the crew exploration vehicle Orion, which will succeed the space shuttle as NASA’s primary vehicle for human exploration in the next decade. The Ares I upper stage, with an engine and an avionics unit procured separately, will provide the navigation, guidance, control and propulsion required for the second stage of the rocket’s ascent. The Ares I first stage will consist of a five-segment solid rocket booster and motor similar to those used on the space shuttle. The second, or upper, stage will consist of a J-2X main engine, a fuel tank for liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants, and associated avionics.

The Ares I upper stage development is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for NASA’s Constellation Program.

For information about NASA’s Constellation Program, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/constellation

Boeing Selected to Build NASA’s Upper Stage for Ares I

ST. LOUIS, (Boeing) — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a NASA contract valued at approximately $514.7 million to produce the upper stage of the Ares I crew launch vehicle. This element provides the navigation, guidance, control and propulsion required for the ascent of the second-stage Ares I into low-Earth orbit.

The Ares I launches the Orion crew exploration vehicle, which will be joined with other elements of NASA’s Constellation program to help propel astronauts to the moon by 2020.

“Boeing will apply its best practices in program management and Lean manufacturing principles from across the company to ensure that we produce the safest, lowest-cost and most reliable upper stage for NASA,” said Roger A. Krone, president of Network and Space Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “The Boeing team has an experienced and highly skilled workforce that is ready to get started on this exciting new mission for our customer and our nation.”

Boeing will produce from two to six upper stages per year during regular production, depending on NASA requirements. The initial phase of the contract calls for several flight-test production units. If all options of the cost-plus performance contract are exercised through 2017, Boeing could produce as many as 23 upper stages.

“The Boeing team is honored to be selected as NASA’s Ares I Upper Stage production partner and to be part of the Constellation team,” said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Exploration. “We have a proven team that is eager to help NASA and the nation write the next chapter in the history of human space exploration.”

Under the contract, Boeing will employ up to several hundred technical support personnel at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Center has responsibility for the design of the Ares I, with Boeing providing production engineering support. Boeing also expects to employ up to several hundred production support personnel at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the upper stage will be assembled.

“The Boeing team will be innovative in our production practices, gained from our extensive experience as the largest aerospace manufacturing company in the world,” said Jim Chilton, vice president of Boeing Exploration Launch Systems and program manager of Ares I Upper Stage production.

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