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Boeing IDS Answers NASA's Call For Ares I Upper Stage RFP

Team "Built Around NASA's Requirements"

Aero-News has learned some very heavy hitters will vie for a contract to produce the upper stage for the Ares I crew launch vehicle, NASA's first new human-rated launch vehicle since the space shuttle. The space agency issued its request for proposal Friday for the Ares I launch vehicle upper stage element, which will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle to low Earth orbit.

On Wednesday, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems announced it will submit an RFP for the upper stage, and that the company will lead a supplier team comprised of:

  • Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
  • Moog Inc. Northrop Grumman Corporation Orion Propulsion Inc.
  • SUMMA Technology Inc.
  • Chickasaw Nation Industries
  • United Space Alliance and the
  • United Launch Alliance

Boeing says each supplier brings specific capabilities tailored to NASA's stated Ares I upper stage needs. Located in or near Huntsville, AL and New Orleans, Boeing's team will focus on providing responsive support to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center customer.

"We will bring innovative manufacturing approaches and the best elements of Boeing and our teammates to bear on this critical NASA Constellation Program element," said Jim Chilton, Boeing's vice president of Exploration Launch Systems. "Our lean practices, proven in commercial airplanes and defense programs, will help us provide a low cost, safe and reliable upper stage."

"Our team is composed of industry leaders with experience in their Ares I upper stage roles. We don't want to add risk to NASA's program," Chilton added. "Our team was built around NASA's requirements."

The upper stage proposals are due to Marshall Space Flight Center no later than 1300 CST April 13, 2007. NASA is expected to award the Ares I upper stage production contract in late August.

FMI: www.nasa.gov/ares

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