Boeing [NYSE:BA] has been awarded
a contract by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide
the electric propulsion system to be used on the Dawn spacecraft.

Boeing Electron Dynamic Devices, Inc. (EDD), located in Torrance,
CA., will be responsible for the production of three xenon ion thrusters
and two power processor units (PPUs) to be used NASA’s latest
Discovery program.

This electric propulsion system will provide the primary propulsion
for the Dawn mission as it travels to Vesta and continues on to Ceres.
NASA scientists are hoping to discover how planets are formed and
find additional clues as to the origins of the solar system.

“EDD is pleased to support NASA – JPL on this important mission,” said
Chris Stephens, EDD vice president and general manager. “This award represents
our customer’s confidence in EDD to provide quality electric propulsion
as was demonstrated in the highly successful NASA Deep Space One (DS1) mission.”

The ion thrusters and PPUs for the Dawn spacecraft will be identical
to the NSTAR equipment that was qualified and flown on the highly
successful NASA Deep Space One mission. The DS1 flight spare ion
thruster has achieved more than 30,000 hours of operation and processed
more than 235kg of xenon in a life test at JPL. This demonstrates
that the NSTAR ion thrusters could meet the Dawn mission requirements
of 19,000 hours and 150kg of propellant throughput per thruster.

The Dawn ion thrusters and PPUs will be produced and tested at the
EDD facility in Torrance with delivery by late 2004. The Dawn mission
is currently scheduled for launch in May 2006.

Boeing EDD is a leading provider of high reliability products to
space and defense customers and the world leader in the development
and production of xenon ion thrusters and associated power processor
units. EDD serves as an independent merchant supplier under Boeing
Integrated Defense Systems.

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 $25 billion
business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government
and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance; 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 launch services.