Contract To Be Awarded Late August, Early September
Boeing submitted its final cost volume bid to NASA
for production of the Ares I crew launch vehicle upper stage last
Bids are due April 13 for the estimated $900 million contract,
scheduled for award late this summer, to produce the hardware based
on NASA specifications.
The program represents Boeing's last chance for the next several
years to win a major hardware-building role in the emerging US
human space exploration program.
The competition pits Boeing's team, which includes Northrop
Grumman, against one led by Alliant Techsystems, according to
As reported by ANN, Boeing's proposal
is designed to meet or exceed NASA requirements by leveraging
best-of-industry suppliers, including several with advanced
technology development contracts on critical Ares I systems.
"We offer unique capability to NASA's Ares I team," said Jim
Chilton, Boeing vice president of Exploration Launch Systems,
"bringing value based on our experience in commercial, defense and
space programs, along with innovation and new advocacy and outreach
"We are completely committed to delivering NASA a safe,
affordable and producible upper stage."
Boeing's team of suppliers include Hamilton Sundstrand, a
subsidiary of United Technologies, Moog Inc., Northrop Grumman,
Orion Propulsion, SUMMA Technology, United Space Alliance, and the
United Launch Alliance.
"We recognize our suppliers are critical to our proposal, and we
have worked closely with them to ensure they know our processes,
approaches, people and tools and that their capabilities precisely
match NASA's needs," said Chilton.
"Boeing and its suppliers are fully prepared to continue our
collaboration with NASA and are positioned to begin work
immediately upon contract award."
Delivery of this final Ares I upper stage production proposal
volume culminates more than a year-long effort to bring Boeing's
best lean manufacturing practices to NASA's Michoud Assembly
Facility in New Orleans, LA, where the upper stage will be
Alliant Techsystems' competing team, unveiled in September,
includes Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of
Canoga Park, CA, which is under contract to produce the Ares 1's
upper-stage engine, the J2-X.
Ares I, which will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle
to low Earth orbit, is an essential element of the nation's space
exploration program that will return astronauts to the moon no
later than 2020.