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Boeing Announces Industry Team For Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle Upper Stage Production

Photo Credit: Boeing
by Staff Writers
St Louis MO March 28, 2007
Boeing will lead a team of suppliers in pursuit of a contract for production of the upper stage for the Ares I crew launch vehicle, NASA's first new human-rated launch vehicle since the space shuttle.

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.

Boeing suppliers include:
+ 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
+ United Launch Alliance

Each supplier brings specific capabilities tailored to NASA's stated Ares I upper stage needs. This team provides world class technical expertise, proven performance in their Ares I roles and an innovative, low-cost small business orientation. Located predominantly in Huntsville, Ala., and New Orleans, La., Boeing's team will focus on providing responsive support to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center customer.

Leveraging decades of experience in advanced aerospace design, manufacturing and assembly as well as common procurement systems and procedures, the Boeing-led team will provide NASA a full breadth of capabilities for the Ares I crew launch vehicle.

"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."

Boeing's Ares I team will provide the following services --

SUMMA Technology Inc., a small disadvantaged business located in Huntsville, Ala., will produce the large barrel panels for the upper stage. The company has been a Boeing supplier for many years and is well versed on lean practices through its role in the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems aircraft supply chain.

Hamilton Sundstrand (HS) will work closely with Moog to produce the Thrust Vector Control (TVC) subsystem that steers the upper stage as well as key propulsion components and upper stage subassemblies. NASA recently selected Hamilton Sundstrand for the advanced technology contract related to the TVC turbine pump assembly. Besides its extensive heritage in human rated flight experience, HS is a Boeing partner in lean manufacturing practices for power and environmental control systems on commercial airplanes.

Moog Inc. will provide critical components for the Main Propulsion System and Reaction Control System propulsion systems and will work with Hamilton Sundstrand on the TVC subsystem. Moog already has been selected by NASA for advanced technology development work related to hydraulic actuators and controllers. Besides its extensive heritage in human rated flight experience, Moog is a Boeing partner in lean manufacturing practices for primary flight control systems on commercial airplanes.

Northrop Grumman, with more than 30 years of experience in the design, production engineering and manufacturing of aerospace composites, will produce the Ares I upper stage composite interstage.

Orion Propulsion Inc., a growing small, woman-owned aerospace company located in Huntsville, Ala., will supply reaction control system thruster test equipment, tooling and test support services. Orion also will provide design, fabrication and testing expertise. Chickasaw Nation Industries, a tribally-owned small business, will provide logistics support for the upper stage and will be responsible for some of the day-to-day operations, such as inventory control.

United Launch Alliance will provide its rocket production expertise as well as experience with the development, operation and production of five-meter cryogenic launch systems based on the current Delta IV system. Delta IV is the state-of-the-art for cryogenic rockets in production today.

United Space Alliance (USA) will be responsible for design for operations and supportability, leveraging more than 10 years of space shuttle operations experience and lessons learned. United Space Alliance will support the logistics support infrastructure, vehicle and ground systems integration, operation and test, maintenance and training systems at Kennedy Space Center. USA also will support mission operations, test, and training at Johnson Space Center.

NASA is expected to award the Ares I upper stage production contract in late August.

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