[8-28-07 - Satellite News Today] Boeing Co. has been awarded a NASA contract to produce the upper stage of the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle, the agency announced Aug. 28.
The two-stage Ares 1 will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle to low Earth orbit. Under the initial phase of a contract valued at $514.7 million, Boeing will manufacture a ground test article, three flight test units and six production units. During the production phase, Boeing could produce two to six flight units per year, and if all options are exercised, Boeing could produce as many as 23 upper stages, the company said.
On Aug. 14, NASA signed a $1.8 billion contract with Alliant Techsystems (ATK) for the design, development, testing and evaluation of the first stage of the Ares 1 and Ares 5 launch vehicles, which will replace the space shuttle as NASA's human spaceflight vehicles.