ATK Won’t Protest NASA Awarding Ares I Upper Stage Contract To Boeing
Alliant Techsystems [ATK] won’t protest NASA giving the contract for a key next-generation U.S. spaceship component to The Boeing Co. [BA], an ATK spokesman said yesterday.
NASA last month awarded Boeing a contract to build the Ares I upper stage rocket that will lift the Orion crew exploration vehicle carrying U.S. astronauts into space, beginning in the middle of the next decade.
An ATK-led team, with Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] as a major subcontractor, had sought the Ares I upper stage contract, which has an initial segment worth about $514.7 million.
The Orion-Ares spacecraft will replace the space shuttle fleet, which was set to retire Sept. 31, 2010, but which now may retire half a year earlier, on March 31, 2010. That stand-down of the shuttle fleet will leave a half-a-decade gap when the United States — which put men on the moon — won’t even be able to transport its astronauts to low Earth orbit, just as China is poised to send a mission of its own to the moon.