WASHINGTON - NASA on Tuesday selected The Boeing Co., Huntsville, Ala., as the contractor to provide manufacturing support for design and construction of the upper stage of the Ares I rocket. Ares I will launch astronauts to the International Space Station and eventually help return humans to the moon.
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. Final assembly of the upper stage will take place at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
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.
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.
The Ares I upper stage development is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for NASA's Constellation Program.
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