Press Release

Northrop Grumman/Boeing Space Team Selected to Compete for NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle

By SpaceRef Editor
June 14, 2005
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Northrop Grumman/Boeing Space Team Selected to Compete for NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle

A Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC – News) – The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA – News) team has been selected by NASA to compete for an award to design and build the space agency’s planned Crew Exploration Vehicle, a human space-transportation system that will serve as the Space Shuttle’s replacement. The competition is expected to result in an award, in early 2006, to a single contractor team to design and produce the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration calls for the Crew Exploration Vehicle to carry up to six astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit soon after the Space Shuttle is retired in 2010, and then on to the moon as early as 2015.

Over the next few months, the Northrop Grumman-Boeing team will work with NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate to refine and solidify requirements for the Crew Exploration Vehicle mission. The team will also begin updating the Crew Exploration Vehicle concept that it first proposed to NASA on May 2 to reflect those more mature requirements.

“The Northrop Grumman-Boeing Crew Exploration Vehicle team will readily meet NASA’s challenge to develop the safest, most affordable, most reliable human space-transportation system ever conceived,” said Doug Young, Northrop Grumman’s lead executive for Constellation Systems and its Crew Exploration Vehicle program manager. “We’ll use our wealth of systems-engineering talent, human-spaceflight experience and program-management capabilities to meet the critical cost, schedule and performance objectives of this visionary space mission.”

In late April, NASA commissioned an Exploration Systems Architecture Study that is expected to recommend accelerating the schedule for developing and launching the first crewed Crew Exploration Vehicle mission from 2014 to 2010, and broadening the Crew Exploration Vehicle’s mission to include servicing the International Space Station.

The Exploration Systems Architecture Study is intended to refine top-level requirements for the Crew Exploration Vehicle. It was motivated in large measure by broad national interest in reducing or eliminating the gap between the planned Space Shuttle fleet retirement in 2010 and attainment of the first crewed Crew Exploration Vehicle operating capability by 2014. Closing this gap would eliminate national concern over the United States potentially relying on the international space community to transfer its astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The study, results of which are expected by mid-summer, will also define top-level requirements and configurations for crew and cargo launch systems to support the lunar and Mars exploration programs; develop a reference lunar- exploration architecture concept to support sustained-human and robotic-lunar exploration operations; and identify key technologies required to conduct and sustain the nation’s space-exploration program.

“We’ve committed our best people and resources to this program,” said Keith Reiley, Boeing Space Exploration Systems chief engineer and deputy program manager. “We are confident we can offer NASA a simple, flexible Crew Exploration Vehicle that supports low-Earth orbit and lunar operations.”

NASA plans to issue a “Call for Improvements” later this year to ask that teams competing for the final Crew Exploration Vehicle award update their proposals to reflect requirements identified by Exploration Systems Architecture Study.

During the initial phases of the Crew Exploration Vehicle program, which will demonstrate the vehicle’s ability to operate safely with astronauts in low-Earth orbit, Northrop Grumman will serve as the team’s prime contractor, with Boeing serving as its teammate and principal subcontractor. During subsequent phases of the program, which will focus on lunar exploration missions, Boeing will serve as the prime contractor for the lunar mission elements. For this work, Northrop Grumman will serve as Boeing’s teammate and principal subcontractor.

The Northrop Grumman/Boeing Crew Exploration Vehicle team’s key subcontractors are Alenia Spazio, an expert in composite structures; ARES Corporation, a leading engineering, risk management, and project management services company; Draper Laboratory, which specializes in the development of autonomous and highly reliable flight systems for human space systems; and United Space Alliance, which provides extensive experience in space operations.

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 $30.5 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; 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 sustainment solutions and launch services.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. It provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, the company serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers. Today, more than 20,000 of Northrop Grumman’s employees are devoted to space-related projects.

SpaceRef staff editor.