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Boeing Takes Northrop, USA, ULA, Hamilton On Team For NASA Ares Bid

By | April 2, 2007

      The Boeing Co. [BA] announced top members of its team bidding for the upper stage for the Ares I crew launch vehicle contract.

      Ares I in the middle of the next decade will become the new NASA human-rated launch vehicle, the first since the space shuttle fleet that is to retire in 2010.

      A new rocket system, Ares I will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle to low Earth orbit.

      Ares I is an essential element of the space exploration program that will return astronauts to the moon no later than 2020.

      The Boeing team includes:

      • Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. [UTX]

      • Moog Inc. [MOG.A and MOG.B]

      • Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC]

      • Orion Propulsion Inc.

      • SUMMA Technology Inc.

      • Chickasaw Nation Industries

      • United Space Alliance

      • United Launch Alliance

      Each supplier brings specific capabilities tailored to Ares I upper stage needs, according to Boeing.

      Located predominantly in Huntsville, Ala., and New Orleans, the team would focus on providing responsive support to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

      If Boeing wins the contract, SUMMA , a small disadvantaged business located in Huntsville, would produce the large barrel panels for the upper stage.

      Hamilton Sundstrand would work 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.

      Moog Inc. would provide components for the main propulsion system and reaction control system propulsion systems and work with Hamilton Sundstrand on the TVC subsystem. NASA already selected Moog for advanced technology development work related to hydraulic actuators and controllers.

      Northrop would produce the Ares I upper stage composite interstage.

      Orion Propulsion, a growing small, woman-owned aerospace company in Huntsville, would supply reaction control system thruster test equipment, tooling and test support services. Orion also would provide design, fabrication and testing expertise.

      Chickasaw Nation Industries, a tribally-owned small business, would provide logistics support for the upper stage and be responsible for some of the day-to-day operations, such as inventory control.

      United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], would 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. The Boeing-derived Delta IV is the state-of-the-art for cryogenic rockets in production today.

      United Space Alliance, also a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed, would contribute design for operations and supportability. United Space Alliance would aid logistics support infrastructure, vehicle and ground systems integration, operation and test, maintenance and training systems at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. This alliance also would 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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