NASA has awarded a contract to The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] for its family of Delta rockets to launch the next generation of scientific and technology development payloads into orbit or into deep space.
With the NASA Launch Services contract (NLS), NASA has selected Boeing Delta II expendable launch vehicles for three firm missions and five options. Additionally, Boeing was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. IDIQ launches at a future date are included in the 10-year launch services contract for Delta IV, Delta III and Delta II launch vehicles. The potential value of the 10-year contract could be up to $5 billion.
The first launch under the new contract will be EOS CHEM aboard a Delta II in 2002. Other missions will include Deep Impact and MESSENGER in 2004.
"Boeing is proud to continue a 40-year tradition as a launch provider for NASA," said Gale Schluter, vice president-general manager of Boeing Expendable Launch Systems. "It affirms NASA's confidence in the Delta family of launch vehicles, both past and well into the future."
The Delta II has become a workhorse for the space science community, military, and commercial customers. Delta II rockets have placed into orbit a wide variety of astronomical observatories, space physics satellites, and planetary spacecraft. The versatile Delta II has payload capabilities ranging from 2,100 -- 4,550 pounds into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
Delta III, featuring a larger fairing to house bigger payloads and a new cryogenically propelled upper stage, uses existing components and infrastructure similar to that used with the Delta II launch vehicle, but can boost twice the payload into orbit. The Boeing Delta IV family includes five launch vehicle variants using common booster cores with payload capabilities ranging from 9,200 -- 29,000 pounds into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
Since 1961, Delta rockets have flown 82 missions for NASA and have earned a better than 98 percent success rate.
Last year, Boeing received NASA's Public Service Group Achievement Award for critical Mars missions including Mars Pathfinder, Mars Orbiter, and Deep Space 1, all of which were launched aboard Delta II rockets.
In the spring of 2000, the Boeing Delta launch team was awarded the George M. Low award, NASA's most prestigious honor for quality.
Over the years, Delta has launched a host of scientific and technology development payloads, including Cosmic Background Explorer, X-Ray Timing Explorer, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous, Stardust, and -- most recently -- Infrared Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Explorer (IMAGE).
Boeing Delta Web Site: www.boeing.com/delta