Team Boeing win Ares I Upper Stage contract

by Chris Bergin

NASA have awarded the lucrative Ares I Upper Stage contract to a team led by Boeing to provide manufacturing support for design and construction of the upper stage of the Crew Launch Vehicle.

Boeing’s team is constructed from a range of established industry partners, beating out the competition of ATK’s team of Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne.





Huge amounts of VSE related insider news and presentations – THE most comprehensive place to follow Ares/Orion development – are available for download on L2.
See list at the end of this article.


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Making up the Boeing team is Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. Moog Inc. Northrop Grumman Corporation. Orion Propulsion Inc. SUMMA Technology Inc. Chickasaw Nation Industries. United Space Alliance and the United Launch Alliance.

Boeing will provide support to a NASA-led design team during the design phase and will be responsible for production of the Ares I upper stage. Boeing will manufacture a ground test article, three flight test units and six production flight units to support NASA’s flight manifest through 2016.

Orginally, the NASA solicitation required the winning party to build a total 23 Upper Stages over the period of performance, at the rate of two Upper Stages per year – matching the current flight rate that has been scheduled for the Ares I, with NASA requesting information on the possibility of six being built per year.

‘The Boeing team is honored to be selected as NASA’s Ares I Upper Stage production partner and to be part of the Constellation team,’ said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Space Exploration business unit.
‘We have a proven team that is eager to help NASA and the nation write the next chapter in the history of human space exploration.’

Final assembly of the upper stage will take place at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans.

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The contract type is cost-plus-award-fee and the period of performance is Sept. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2016. The estimated contract value for design team support and the manufacture of the test units and six production flight units is $514.7 million. The selection resulted from a full and open competition.

‘Boeing will apply its best practices in program management and Lean manufacturing principles from across the company to ensure that we produce the safest, lowest-cost and most reliable upper stage for NASA,’ said Roger A. Krone, president of Network and Space Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

‘The Boeing team has an experienced and highly skilled workforce that is ready to get started on this exciting new mission for our customer and our nation.’

Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket that will carry to low Earth orbit the crew exploration vehicle Orion, which will succeed the space shuttle as NASA’s primary vehicle for human exploration in the next decade.

The Ares I upper stage, with an engine and an avionics unit procured separately, will provide the navigation, guidance, control and propulsion required for the second stage of the rocket’s ascent. The Ares I first stage will consist of a five-segment solid rocket booster and motor similar to those used on the space shuttle.

The second, or upper, stage will consist of a J-2X main engine, a fuel tank for liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants, and associated avionics.

Boeing was confident of winning the contract, claiming to be the low risk option for NASA to take.

‘We think we’re the low risk offer. Our team is capable of completing the whole work segment, we didn’t need to go and buy any help. Then you go look at what’s best for NASA, by studying the RFP (Request For Proposals) and SRR (System Requirements Review) requirements, and we think we have a team that is just right for this job,’ said Chilton back at the time of the RFP being published.

After losing out on the award of the lucrative Orion contract to Lockheed Martin, and with ATK’s role on the Ares I first stage, the Upper Stage contract was a must-win for Boeing.

Selection of L2 Resources For Ares I, V and Constellation: Ares I Interstage diagrams. Ares V Super Crawler. Ares I Launch Pad images (ML etc.) Hi Res images of Ares I-X Upper Stage. Orion 606 Data Updates. Updates Constellation launch schedule through to Orion 15. Orion Seat test photos. New ML Graphic and info. New Ares V graphic and baseline data. Large collection of hi res Orion paracute drop tests. SIX Part Series of Ares I Upper Stage Graphical Overviews. DAC-1C DDD Vast Slides on Vehicle Design. ATK First Stage Presentation. 39B Lightning Towers Slides. DAC-1C Departure points to DAC-2 Upper Stage Graphcs (Many Changes).

Orion/CEV Display Layout Presentation (40 pages). ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV. Weather Shield (Rain Shield) for Orion on the pad. New Super hi-res images of Ares I. ATK Cutaway graphics of Ares I – perspective and axonometric – Feb 1. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. CEV Paracute Assembly System (CPAS) Presentation.

Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) overview presentation. Major changes to Ares I Upper Stage – expansive details and data. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. Saturn Twang Test Video for use with Ares I-1R. CLV Umbilical Trade Matrix XLS.

Vehicle interfaces for the DAC 1C version of Orion Ares – Jan 3. Ares I-1R Test Flight Plan (full outline) Presentation. Ares I-1 timeline and modification expanded info. Ares I troubleshooting latest. Ares I Reference Trajectory. Boeing’s STS to Ares – Lessons Learned Presentation. Latest Ares I and Ares V baseline Configuration image and data. CLV DAC-1C (Changes to CLV Upper Stage).

Ares I-1: Four Seg+Dummy ‘Tuna Can’ stage. Ascent Developmental Flight Test Presentation. CLV Pad 39B Handover Info and Latest. New images of CLV on top of new MLP and LUT. Lockheed Martin CEV/Orion Updates. Constellation news updates. ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV.

90 Minute Video of Constellation all hands meeting. CLV TIM Meeting Information. CLV/CaLV Infrastructure, Timelines and Information. Escape System Trade Study Presentation.

CEV-CLV Design Analysis Cycle Review (DAC-2) Presentation. Constellation SRR updates. CLV Stick – Troubleshooting/Alternatives/Updates. New CEV Images (include abort mode). Flight Design and Dynamics Division CEV update. CLV Mono-propellant RCS system. CEV pressurisation system review. CLV/CEV Configuration Images. The 2×3 Seg SRB Crew Launch Vehicle Option Presentation…plus more.

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