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Feb 11 2015

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Boeing reorganizes Space and Defense sectors

Things that make me go ‘hmmmmm’.

BDS Development is patterned on the Airplane Development organization in Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Those groups demonstrate the company’s best-of-Boeing approach to reducing risk and improving the affordability of key development activities.

Six programs now managed elsewhere in BDS will be the first ones overseen by BDS Development:

  • U.S. Air Force KC-46 aerial refueling tanker.
  • The Air Force’s presidential aircraft.
  • CST-100 spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew program.
  • NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, which will take humans beyond Earth orbit.
  • Boeing’s 502 small satellite effort.
  • BDS work on Boeing’s 777X commercial airplane.

Again I say, “Hmmmmmm”. In FY13, around 3/4 of Boeing revenues ($16 billion out of $21 billion total) was from Defense & Aerospace. In FY14, their total revenue had fallen to $19.4 billion, so they’re definitely feeling pinched by competition. It appears, from the list of projects above, that Boeing wants to incorporate their successful commercial manufacturing processes (like for the 777) into their more DoD-flavored projects.

They were beat on price for the Commercial Crew contract, and everyone and their brother has been squawking about the delays in schedule and cost overruns of the SLS, so streamlining those projects into a more commercial mindset couldn’t hurt. Interesting that the 502 small satellite project is included in this as well — is Boeing feeling pressure from the growing CubeSat/nanosat capabilities? My guess would be “yes”.

Boeing is my favorite “legacy” space company by far, so I hope this reorganization makes them more competitive overall.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/02/11/boeing-reorganizes-space-and-defense-sectors/

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