Boeing said June 1 that it has established an Exploration Launch Systems Engineering and Integration Office in Titusville, Fla., to support NASA as it lays the groundwork for development of a congressionally mandated heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Jim Chilton, Boeing vice president of exploration launch systems, said the new office near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center also will support Boeing’s ongoing work on the Upper Stage Production and Instrument Unit Avionics contracts the company was awarded in 2007 under the now-defunct Constellation program. Heavy-lift concepts under consideration at NASA would incorporate designs and contracts from the Constellation program’s Ares family of rockets, including Boeing’s upper stage and avionics work.

“We continue to make excellent progress on the contracts we competed for and won a few years ago, using the re-prioritization allowed by NASA,” Chilton said in a statement. “The design is proving to be sound, as is our innovative manufacturing process.”

Under Constellation, Boeing was making preparations for building the instrument rings and cryogenic upper stages at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Boeing recently submitted trade studies and detailed cost and schedule information to NASA so the agency can evaluate the company’s heavy-lift launch vehicle system concepts, propulsion technologies and affordability.

The new office is located in Boeing’s existing Titusville facility and initially will be staffed by 15 to 20 people, Boeing spokeswoman Susan Wells said June 2.



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