The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] met with Louisiana state, congressional and community officials Monday to discuss its plans to begin work on NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle upper stage at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
"We are excited to be back in the New Orleans area and are making preparations to produce the upper stage with our NASA partner. Ares will bring the right kind of high technology jobs to the region, and we look forward to working closely with community leaders as work gets under way next year," said former NASA astronaut Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Exploration.
Shaw, joined by Jim Chilton, vice president of Boeing Exploration Launch Systems and program manager for Ares I upper stage production, also presented a $10,000 donation to the United Way of Greater New Orleans. The donation, which follows a $25,000 contribution made earlier this year, will be used to support the Beacon of Hope Resource Center and The St. Bernard Project community rebuilding programs.
Boeing also has submitted a bid to produce the Ares I Instrument Unit Avionics (IUA) at Michoud. The IUA, which guides the rocket into orbit, consists of onboard computers, flight controls, communications equipment, gyroscopes and other instruments and their associated software for monitoring the rocket's speed and position while supporting safe assembly, check-out and flight operation.
Boeing is a premier avionics integrator with an extensive supply base. Every day, millions of people rely on Boeing-provided avionics systems, which are used on spacecraft, defense platforms and commercial airplanes. NASA plans to announce the winner of the IUA contract in December.
Boeing's work on the Saturn first stage booster took place at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in the 1960s. Parts for the booster were shipped to Michoud from the company's Wichita, Kan., plant, as well as from subcontractors around the country.