Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NASA extends Boeing's station operations contract

NASA today announced a five-year, $1.24 billion contract extension for The Boeing Co. that will support International Space Station operations through September 2015.

Some of the sustaining engineering work will be performed at Kennedy Space Center, but job numbers were not immediately available.

According to Boeing, the contract covers sustaining engineering for hardware and software on the station's U.S. segment, and for common hardware and software available to international partners. Also: management of station subsystems, analytical integration and flight support, on-orbit engineering support, monitoring of system performance and resolution of anomalies.

Completion of the station's U.S. segment is planned with the last shuttle mission, now targeted for February, but NASA officially accepted the station from Boeing after a March review that confirmed station hardware and software had been delivered as required by the contract, the agency said.

White House and congressional budget proposals for NASA would extend station operations by at least another five years, to 2020, but have not yet been approved. The contract extension will study whether station systems could last until 2028.

Boeing won the contract in 1995, and its total value through 2015 totals $16.2 billion, NASA said.

"We are partnering with NASA to ensure the health of the station’s many subsystems in order to pave the way for ground-breaking science and research aboard the laboratories on station in the years ahead," Joy Bryant, Boeing vice president and program manager for ISS, said in a statement.

Roughly 500 Boeing employees at KSC prepare payloads for flight to the space station under a separate Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services contract, or CAPPS. Some of those employees also support the sustaining engineering contract.

NASA also recently announced an extension into next year of United Space Alliance's shuttle operations contract.

IMAGE: The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an STS-132 crew member on space shuttle Atlantis after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation on May 23. Credit: NASA

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