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Sat, Oct 04, 2008

NASA Extends ISS Support Contract

Boeing To Help Keep Station Going Through September 2010

NASA has awarded a two-year, $650 million contract extension to The Boeing Co. to continue engineering support of the International Space Station to September 30, 2010.

The action extends the NAS15-10000 US On-Orbit Segment (USOS) Acceptance and Vehicle Sustaining Engineering Contract, awarded in January 1995. Work under the contract extension will include completion of delivery and on-orbit acceptance of the US segment of the station, sustaining engineering of station hardware and software, support of US hardware and software provided to international partners and participants in the station program, and end-to-end subsystem management for the majority of station systems.

The work will be performed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL., and at other domestic and international locations.

Though two-year contract extensions are common among US aerospace and defense procurement programs, the exact timing of this contract's deadline is notable in that September 30, 2010 also marks the end of the space shuttle program... leaving NASA with no homegrown means of sending US astronauts to the station, until its Orion spacecraft is ready for manned flight sometime in 2015.

For the moment, NASA plans to acquire seats onboard Russian Soyuz capsules for US astronauts... a stopgap measure that grows less attractive by the day, as Russia takes aggressive steps to reassert itself as a global superpower. A number of private companies are also working to develop their own space capsules, though none have even flown a test mission as of yet.



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