Indian-born’s company ties up with Boeing for US space supplies

October 27th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 27 (IANS) As India’s Chandrayaan-1 cruises to the moon, marking the nation’s foray into the big league of space missions, an Indian-born American’s company tied up with aircraft manufacturer Boeing for a role in the US’ manned space missions.New Delhi-born Chirinjeev Kathuria’s is a true story of an Indian immigrant aiming for the stars.

PlanetSpace, which was already in league with advanced defence technology systems manufacturer Lockheed Martin and advanced space systems provider Alliant Techsystems (ATK), has formed a new consortium with Boeing and aims to compete for a $3 billion commercial re-supply services (CRS) contract to ship cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) after 2011 as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) proposes to decommission its current space shuttle programme.

“We are thrilled to add Boeing to round out our extraordinary team,” Kathuria, 42, chairman of PlanetSpace, told IANS on telephone from Chicago.

PlanetSpace is a start-up that is interested in commercial use of space.

“This team brings together technical innovations leveraging more than 50 years of relevant experience using flight-qualified US-built Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motors, Athena launch vehicles, proven space vehicle technology and on-orbit operations,” he added.

Boeing’s role includes providing cargo carrier development, cargo integration services, and ISS integration and operations support.

The NASA programme is to sign commercial cargo-delivery contracts to serve the ISS. It was originally intended to support start-ups and smaller entrepreneurs.

But now, Boeing’s emergence as one of the teams changes that focus somewhat. Boeing is currently NASA’s prime contractor for the international space station and is part of a joint venture with Lockheed that oversees flights of the space shuttle.

“This CRS contract is an important part of ensuring the long-term viability and value of the ISS. Boeing is pleased to be a part of the PlanetSpace CRS team,” said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Space Exploration division.

“The Boeing Company, as a partner in the design, development and integration of the ISS, shares NASA’s interest in ensuring this national resource and world-class laboratory is used to its full capability and potential,” he added.

NASA next month is slated to pick two winners for commercial cargo-delivery contracts potentially valued at a total of $3 billion. The other two teams are headed by Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California.

“The team PlanetSpace has assembled is the only team that can address NASA’s capability based on availability of heritage hardware and software systems, unprecedented corporate commitment and the reputations for ultimate mission success. We commend Congress and NASA on their continued commitment to support and grow commercial spaceflight supporting our nation’s space utilization needs,” said Kathuria.

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