Working to promote small business relationships, NASA and Boeing signed a Mentor Protege Program Agreement at Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner processing facility on Tuesday July 26, 2016. Under the Office of Small Business Programs NASA is working to improve its relationship with small businesses and to improve the processes of application, certification, compliance, reporting and payment as not to make it too onerous on small business. This particular agreement matched Boeing with Bastion Technologies, a Houston, TX small business contributing to the development of the CST-100 capsule. In addition to improving the process, they will share resources, including manufacturing, quality, marketing and business development over the next 18 months.
Boeing is a NASA prime contractor and allocates significant resources for supporting and developing a strong supplier network.
“Bastion is an excellent example of how Boeing and small businesses can collaborate and grow as teammates and as individual companies,” said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Programs. “Through Mentor-Protégé, we’ll accelerate our common support of NASA’s critical work advancing human spaceflight capabilities.” Boeing Press Release
“We have cherished our relationship with Boeing, which began with our work on the digital pre-assembly of the International Space Station to our work on today’s CST-100 Starliner program,” said Jorge Hernandez, president, Bastion Technologies. “We look forward to many more years of cutting-edge work with Boeing and strengthening our aerospace ties through this mentorship program.” Boeing Press Release
These partnerships are common in the aerospace industry and NASA is at the forefront. With ‘prime’ contractors, that have vested interests in outsourcing many of it’s processes, it’s a win-win for economic development and for helping to control the costs of sending spaceships into LEO or Deep Space.
According to Boeing and NASA, the first CST-100/Starliner will blast off with crew in 2018. The first orbital test flight is scheduled for December, 2017. These are all targets and can be changed. Stay Tuned.