Commercial crew: Boeing and Bigelow team up

by | Sep 23, 2009 | Commercial human spaceflight, International Space Station, NASA, Personal spaceflight, Space tourism | 1 comment

In a surprise move that may see Lockheed frozen out of a Bigelow, Commercial Crew Development progamme collaboration the Boeing company has announced its teaming with Bigelow

 

Boeing Submits Proposal for NASA Commercial Crew Transport System

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 23, 2009 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] submitted a proposal to NASA on Sept. 22 to accelerate the development of commercial human space transportation as defined by NASA in its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) announcement. Boeing’s submission, which draws on the company’s experience with proven human-rated spacecraft, proposes development of technologies that will mature its Commercial Crew Transportation System concept.

NASA’s CCDev initiative is intended to stimulate private-sector development of a commercially managed system that could be used to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, Bigelow Aerospace’s Orbital Space Complex, and other potential destinations in low Earth orbit.

“Boeing’s knowledge of the space station and our long history of supporting NASA with proven human-rated systems should allow us to work closely with NASA to develop a commercially viable, yet safe, crew transportation system,” said Keith Reiley, Boeing program manager for the CCDev proposal. “Boeing has a lot to offer NASA in this new field of commercial crew transportation services. To show our commitment, we are willing to make a substantial investment in research and development.”

Boeing has strong project management skills, commercial manufacturing experience using Lean management practices, one of the strongest supplier networks in the United States, and a team of talented engineers with practical human spaceflight experience. Most recently, Boeing has applied this experience on its Ares I and Constellation work in support of NASA’s exploration mission. Boeing can apply these skills and capabilities to meeting specific milestones to show progress in developing a reliable and safe commercial crew transportation system.

Joining Boeing on the CCDev team will be Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, LLC. Bigelow Aerospace will provide additional investment, requirements for crew transportation to its Orbital Space Complex, and its expertise from testing and validating the technologies necessary to construct and deploy a full-scale, crewed, commercial orbital space complex.

To support the commercial space industry with space-platform and human-rated systems experience, Boeing also has joined three other teams competing for CCDev agreements. These teams are submitting their own separate proposals.

NASA has announced it will sign funded agreements with one or more teams in November, using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The value of the Space Act Agreements can vary, but NASA has said approximately $50 million is available to distribute and that the funded, fixed-price agreements will run through September 2010.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

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