Boeing vies for Nasa contract

Boeing has submitted a proposal to Nasa to bring innovative, affordable solutions to the agency's next-generation mission control centre and other facilities at Johnson Space Center in Houston

Boeing plans to draw extensively on its experience on space, military and commercial programmes to improve the efficiency of Nasa's facilities operations in a four-year facilities development and operations contract (FDOC).

Nasa's Johnson Space Center Mission Operations Directorate will manage FDOC, which consolidates a portion of the current space program operations and mission support operations contracts. FDOC includes development, sustaining engineering, operations and maintenance of the training, flight-planning, reconfiguration and control-centre facilities for human spaceflight programmes. The contract also includes developing and maintaining the software applications used in these facilities.

Nasa is scheduled to select a contractor in November, with work starting in January 2009. The initial four-year contract will have two one-year options that could extend the agreement to 2014.

"We are proposing an approach that draws from Boeing's relevant commercial and defence experience, including our industry-leading training and control centres," said Peggy Thomas, Boeing FDOC programme manager. "We hope to play a big part in developing an even better mission operations directorate."

Boeing comes to the FDOC contract with extensive control-centre experience on the Iridium constellation of satellites.

Another advantage for Boeing is its sustaining-engineering experience on the International Space Station and space shuttle programmes, which are supported under the new FDOC contract.

"Our experiences in the defence and commercial businesses offer affordable options to Nasa as the agency moves into the next generation of space exploration," said Thomas.

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