The Boeing
Co. today announced that it has been selected by the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as the prime integrator to
perform Phase II of the Orbital Express Advanced Technology

Under the 42-month $113 million agreement with options, a Boeing
Phantom Works team will finalize the design, fabricate and demonstrate
the various technologies required for autonomous satellite servicing
while on-orbit.

“We are elated with our selection and are keenly interested in
perfecting this capability,” said Ron Prosser, vice president of
Advanced Space and Communications for Phantom Works.

“By developing Orbital Express we will have a tremendous
capability to improve the performance, maneuverability and potential
upgrade of both military and commercial satellites. This leads to
significant opportunities to repair satellites, or move stranded
satellites to their correct orbits, saving hundreds of millions of
dollars in replacement costs.”

The unique Orbital Express advanced technology demonstrator will
have the capability to autonomously service, repair and refuel
satellites while on-orbit. The Boeing team will build the Autonomous
Space Transport Robotic Operations satellite (ASTRO), and a surrogate
serviceable satellite, NEXTSat, and conduct an on-orbit demonstration
of autonomous satellite servicing.

Launch is slated for 2006, with routine, cost-effective,
autonomous capability for re-supply and reconfiguration of on-orbit
spacecraft planned for the post-2010 timeframe.

“The Orbital Express win was crucial and I’m proud to be part of
such a talented team,” said Bruce Brandt, Orbital Express program
manager for Phantom Works. “We are extremely excited and committed to
successful execution of this most important national project.”

DARPA foresees that an Orbital Express-derived satellites
servicing architecture will usher in a revolution in space operations,
enabling maneuverable and upgradeable satellites supporting critical
national security missions, as well as new and enhanced capabilities
for civil and commercial space activities.

In an additional development, NASA’s Space Launch Initiative (SLI)
is partnering with DARPA in the Orbital Express demonstration in order
to reduce technical risks associated with developing autonomous
rendezvous capabilities. Leveraging work done through the Orbital
Express technology demonstration is one step toward enabling potential
commercial logistics missions to the International Space Station.

The Boeing Orbital Express Team includes Ball Aerospace and
Technologies Corp., TRW Space and Technology, McDonald Dettwiler
Robotics, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. and Starsys Research

The team is led by the Phantom Works, the advanced research and
development element, which serves as the catalyst of innovation for
the Boeing enterprise. By working with the business units, it provides
advanced systems solutions and innovative, breakthrough technologies
for reducing the cycle time and cost while improving the quality and
performance of aerospace products and services.