MOSCOW, Oct. 6, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Russian aerospace company RSC-Energia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Moscow on Oct. 2 to work together on a future common docking system for advanced space exploration vehicles.
The two companies will complement each other's extensive knowledge in International Space Station (ISS) design, assembly and operation to produce an international standard for docking mechanisms.
"Future space exploration will provide opportunities for more international collaboration," said former astronaut Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Space Exploration division. "As the commercial space market matures, there will be a need for an international standard for docking on orbit. The Boeing Company and Energia will draw on proven experience to provide an innovative docking solution for future space exploration."
The agreement outlines collaboration between the two companies to produce a mechanism based on Energia's existing Androgynous Peripheral Docking System (APDS). Designed and built by Energia in Russia, APDS is a proven system that has connected every space shuttle mission to the ISS for more than a decade.
"By partnering with Energia, we are taking an important step to the future of space exploration," said Joy Bryant, vice president and program manager for Boeing's ISS program. "As NASA and other space agencies begin to explore beyond low Earth orbit to places such as the Moon and Mars, it will become more critical that spacecraft from countries around the world can dock together."
Boeing has a long relationship working with Energia on the ISS, including the use of the Orbiter Docking System for space shuttle docking maneuvers to the ISS, elements of the station's waste hygiene system, and the Guidance, Navigation and Control system that maintains the station's attitude.
Boeing is the prime contractor to NASA for the International Space Station. In addition to designing and building all the major U.S. elements, Boeing is also responsible for ensuring the successful integration of any new hardware and software -- including components from international partners -- as well as for providing sustaining engineering work for the ISS.
Russian Space Corporation Energia, named after S.P. Korolev, is Russia's leader in the rocket and space industry. It conducted the launch of the first Earth satellite in 1957, the first Earth cosmonaut mission of Y.A. Gagarin in 1961, and the first orbital stations Salyut and Mir missions.
Today, RSC Energia is the prime contractor of Roskosmos for the Russian segment of the ISS and prime integrator of this unique, science-driven, high-technology international space project.
RSC Energia develops and manufactures elements of the ISS transport system -- the Soyuz TMA and Progress M series vehicles -- and supports operation of the ISS Russian segment and ISS flight management in close cooperation with international partners. RSC Energia is responsible for the software development and integration for the Russian segment. Integration docking systems developed by RSC Energia have implemented over 300 successful dockings.
RSC Energia is the prime developer in several major Russian space projects, including launch vehicles and automated space systems.
RSC Energia and Boeing are among the partners of the Sea Launch Company, an international launch services venture.
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Boeing Space Exploration
Boeing Space Exploration