Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) have completed and signed a formal agreement to compete as a team for NASA’s new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and related human lunar exploration systems.

The agreement was signed on Jan. 21, just one week after the one-year anniversary of the nation’s decision to renew its commitment to space exploration. It concludes a negotiation process that began in October when the companies signed a memorandum of agreement to explore teaming opportunities. The major participants in the agreement are Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector and Boeing NASA Systems.

Under the agreement, Northrop Grumman will serve as the team’s leader and prime contractor during the initial development phase of the CEV, known as Spiral 1. During this period, which will demonstrate the CEV’s ability to operate safely with astronauts in low-Earth orbit, Boeing will serve as Northrop Grumman’s teammate and principal subcontractor. During Spiral 2, which will begin the expansion of human space exploration to the moon and beyond, Boeing will serve as prime contractor for the lunar mission elements. For this work, Northrop Grumman will serve as Boeing’s teammate and principal subcontractor.

A formal request for proposals to begin development of the CEV system is expected from NASA in March. The space agency is expected to award two CEV system development and demonstration contracts by late summer.

“This agreement officially launches a team that has the space-systems integration expertise, technology innovation and human space-flight experience to design, develop and produce a safe, highly innovative and affordable crew exploration vehicle,” said Gary W. Ervin, sector vice president for Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. “We embrace the technical and logistic challenges of space exploration that await us as we partner with NASA to define and produce the bridge that will carry the nation back to the Moon and beyond.”

CEV will serve as the central human space-transportation system within NASA’s Project Constellation, a broader architecture of human and robotic space systems that will be required to ferry astronauts to the Moon and beyond. CEV will carry astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit, and will include power, propulsion and life-support systems. It will also include a launch-abort system to protect the crew and separate it from the launch vehicle in the event of a problem on the launch pad or during the ascent phase of launch.

For a lunar mission, the CEV will be integrated with additional systems that will propel it beyond low-Earth orbit to a staging point near the Moon. The lunar mission will also require a secondary space system that will allow the crew to travel from the staging area to the Moon’s surface, sustain the crew on the Moon, and transport it safely back to the in-space staging point.

“The past 12 months have witnessed a tremendous rebirth of the nation’s hunger for and curiosity about human space travel and the exploration of distant worlds,” said Chuck Allen, Boeing’s vice president for space exploration systems. “Boeing and Northrop Grumman have come together in a spirit of collaborative partnership to use our technological and engineering expertise, unmatched human space flight experience and a singular focus on mission success to help NASA and the nation fulfill its space exploration goals.”

Boeing NASA Systems is an operating unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $27 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; 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 and Department of Homeland Security; NASA’s largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. It provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, the company serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers. Today, more than 20,000 of Northrop Grumman’s employees are devoted to space-related projects.


Brooks McKinney, APR
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
(310) 331-6610 office
(310) 864-3785 cellular

Tanya Deason-Sharp
The Boeing Company
(281) 226-6070