Spaceflight Insider

NASA awards Boeing a five-year contract extension for ISS support

Russian EVA

Photo Credit: NASA

The International Space Station’s prime contractor, Boeing, has been awarded a five-year extension in its contract to sustain engineering support, resources, and personnel for the orbiting laboratory.

The $1.18 billion contract extends through Sept. 30, 2020. It requires Boeing to maintain engineering, software, and hardware support of the United States Orbital Segment (USOS) of the space station, as well as for common components available to the 16 international partner nations. This includes management of ISS subsystems, engineering support, anomaly resolution, and oversight of ongoing maintenance.

“It builds on Boeing’s tradition of innovation and technological advancement to incorporate efficiencies and improve performance to the station as its importance to the future of human spaceflight continues to grow,” said John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Exploration, in a press release.

Elbon said the contract is a continuation of the successful relationship with NASA and the 16 partner nations in maintaining the health of the station.

Much of the contractual work will be performed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville Alabama, as well as other domestic and international locations.

The extension also requires Boeing to assess the feasibility of extending the life of primary structural hardware of the orbital outpost through the end of 2028. Some components of ISS have been in orbit since 1998, making them the oldest occupied space station modules. The station has been occupied since Nov. 2, 2000.

Boeing has been part of every NASA led U.S. crewed space venture since the beginning of the Space Age and was selected as the prime contractor for the USOS of the station in August 1993. Additionally, Boeing is contracted to build International Docking Adapters (IDA) that will be used for the Commercial Crew program, of which the company is also building a spacecraft for the CST-100 Starliner.


Boeing was contracted to build two International Docking Adapters for the Commercial Crew Program. They will be placed in front of the existing Pressurized Mating Adapters, currently in space. IDA-1 was launched on June 28, 2015, in the cargo trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule; however, a mishap during launch resulted in the loss of the capsule and the docking adapter. Boeing has spare parts for a third IDA to replace the first. Photo Credit: NASA


Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.

Reader Comments

Even if Boeing doesn’t get a contract to deliver cargo in CRS-2, it would be in Boeing’s best interest to develop the Starliner into a cargo carrying variant. Sort of like they did with the 747, after loosing out to LockMart(C-5) in the Air Force Heavy Cargo Airlifter competition.

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