Press Release

Boeing Launches Orbital Space Plane Design

By SpaceRef Editor
April 18, 2003
Filed under , ,
Boeing Launches Orbital Space Plane Design

Boeing engineers
are designing the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) for NASA utilizing nearly 50 years
of expertise in producing spacecraft.

Boeing is one of three contractor teams developing proposals for the
program which includes the spacecraft, ground operations and all supporting
technologies needed to conduct missions to and from the International Space

Boeing was awarded a $45 million contract modification on the NASA Space
Launch Initiative program for work on the space plane. The modification
extends the current contract through July 2004.

The Orbital Space Plane will be a multipurpose spacecraft that can perform
crew rescue vehicle and crew transfer vehicle missions for the space station.
It will be compatible with current expendable rockets and future reusable
launch vehicles and will seat four to six people.

“Our experience from Mercury to Gemini, from Apollo to the space shuttle,
gives us significant knowledge base and proficiency to build upon,” said
Volker Roth, program manager for Boeing on this program in Huntsville, Ala.
“We are drawing on the best of industry for this team.”

Orbital Space Plane also draws upon research conducted with the X-37 built
by Phantom Works, a business unit of Boeing. The X-37 serves as a test bed
for 40 airframe, propulsion and operational technologies designed to make
space transportation more affordable.

Under the Space Launch Initiative, Boeing will determine a technical and
program approach for a future OSP. The concept definition phase is scheduled
to last 16 months and includes a series of systems engineering trade studies.
The results will be more specific definitions and solutions based on
requirements set by NASA. This includes program elements, estimated life
cycle cost for various alternatives and vehicle design recommendations.

“Space is a challenging environment,” added Roth. “The Orbital Space
Plane will be designed to provide safe, reliable and affordable access to
space for humans.”

NASA is expected to proceed with full-scale development of the OSP before
the end of 2004. In addition to this contract effort, Boeing is preparing to
compete for the next phase of the program in 2004.

Boeing Phantom Works will manage the Orbital Space Plane Phase A Program
from facilities in Huntsville, Ala. and will employ about 120 persons in
Houston, Huntington Beach, Calif., and the Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of
the world’s largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis,
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It provides
systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers.
It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the
world’s largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world’s largest satellite
manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary
systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA’s largest contractor; and a
global leader in launch services.

For a downloadable image go to:

SpaceRef staff editor.