17 thoughts on “Boeing”

  1. Nobody in Congress likes that SpaceX has proven government spending on space is out of control and yielding little results.

  2. Where Boeing always trying to get a piece of every little thing is turned into a virtue? Like, was there ever a chance Boeing wouldn’t have placed a bid?

    Does Boeing’s lobbying effort play a role here? Bolden says without Boeing, they never would have got the money. That is the way the game is played and it is great SpaceX played it as well. Too bad for Dream Chaser though.

    Boeing has had mixed success and will likely only stick with Starliner as long as there is a government market, which is fine. It is just one thing of many they do and they have also had some major success recently that eclipse some of these failures.

    1. Like, was there ever a chance Boeing wouldn’t have placed a bid?

      There’s been plenty of times when large, traditional government contractors would prefer to no bid an RFP but they almost never do because it would anger their biggest customer, the government. An historical example is the Gemini paraglider contract. The winner, North American, had plenty of space business with the Saturn S-II stage and the Apollo CSM, and would have preferred to no bid the RFP. But they felt obligated, put in a proposal, and to their chagrin, ended up winning.

      1. On the other hand, Boeing pulled a complete surprise move in no-bidding the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, leaving Northrop-Grumman as the winner. I can tell you that it caught NGC completely by surprise.

  3. To paraphrase from the ads run in computer magazines and trade rags such as Datamation, etc. during the mini-computer craze of the early 70s….

    Former NASA Administrator claims Boeing’s entry legitimized the CCDev Market. The bastards say welcome! – SpaceX

  4. The gist being Commerical Crew wouldn’t have happened if Boeing hadn’t lent their reputation to doing it. Unfortunately, at this point, Boeing’s reputation wouldn’t get a small sat corporation off the ground.

  5. It’s highly amusing to see Bolden and even Lori Garver spin Boeing’s decision as a laudable decision to take a risk on a firm fixed price program like Commercial Crew, because I think both would privately concede that Boeing’s risk calculation was quite different. Because Boeing executives almost certainly thought one of two things would happen:

    1. NASA would downselect to just one provider, and that would be Boeing. And Boeing could then use that leverage to demand more money for a suddenly not-so-fixed price contract.


    2. NASA might award a second contract to one of the new upstart bidders (SpaceX, Sierra, Blue Origin), who would then struggle to complete such a formidable program, at which point Boeing could then use that leverage to demand more money for a suddenly not-so-fixed price contract.

    And we can feel tolerable confidence in saying this, even setting aside a number of well-founded rumors in this regard, since Boeing in 2016 *did* try to take advantage of Commercial Crew delays to attempt to jack up the price for its operational missions, and in the end instead was able to wheedle an extra $287 million out of NASA. Much to the OIG’s chagrin.

    Still, thank you for your arrogance, Boeing execs: you made SpaceX’s success even more resounding!

    1. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking that. We’ve seen time and again all sorts of “fixed price” contracts get Change Ordered into a cost-plus contract in everything but the name.

      I mean, this is the same industry that launched the Sue Origin meme, with Bezos all but admitting that their cost estimates are worth about as much as the free download of Adobe Acrobat that’s needed to read their bid in the first place…

      1. It’s sad that such estimates were often more reliable during Apollo, when NASA and its contractors had far less firm idea of what they were doing (since, you know, it had never been done before).

        For example, Boeing got the bid for Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle. Boeing’s final cost came to $38 million, which was about double what they bid. But it was also slightly under what NASA had internally estimated LRV development and fabrication would cost, so it worked out quite well – not least for a machine designed to what had never been done before, working with little information about the nature of the lunar surface sights it would be used to navigate, and had to be transported in an almost impossibly small volume compartment. And Boeing delivered it on time! And it actually worked!

        But that was a very different Boeing from the one that exists now.

  6. Well, it’s aloft, with minor issues, and should reach ISS this evening. NASA needs Starliner because it can do what Zvezda/Progress does for ISS (and Dragon can’t, due to thruster alignment). Another possibility is Dream Chaser/Shooting star, NET February 2023 (Vulcan-Centaur depending). Shooting Star by itself can act as an ISS propulsion module, with space for added ECLSS equipment, or even used as a spare airlock. It can fly alone, without the spaceplane, and could be launched on Falcon 9, if need be. LockMart makes a new one for each Dream Chaser, so there’s a production line being stood up.

    1. Shooting Star is to Dream Chaser what I wished SpaceX would have done with the Dragon trunk. Unfortunately, Dragon (Cargo/Crew) as a program appears frozen in time now because of Starship. Well maybe rightfully so, maybe…

      1. In my insomnia fantasies I like the idea of putting an orbital module in the trunk, with a through heat shield hatch and a rear facing docking adapter. Or propulsion module for BEO use. Or launch Dragon + Shooting Star on an FH… no wonder I can’t sleep.

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