Boeing Launch Services, Inc. (BLS)
Boeing Launch Services Inc. (BLS), is a customer-focused organization that combines strategic planning, business development and sales of the Delta family of launch vehicles to commercial and government customers. Boeing provides Delta rocket launches for commercial customers. BLS procures the launch vehicles and related services for its commercial customers from United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture with Lockheed Martin. BLS is part of the Space Exploration division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security Systems (BDS) and is based in Huntington Beach, California, USA.
Boeing’s BDS division is one of The Boeing Company’s five divisions and one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. BDS is headquartered in St. Louis and is a 30 billion USD business with 50,000 employees worldwide.
Parent company, Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes and defense, space and security systems. Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers, is the second-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2013 revenue and is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value.
Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.
Boeing is organized into five primary divisions:
- Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA),
- Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS)
- Engineering, Operations & Technology,
- Boeing Capital,
- Boeing Shared Services Group.
In 2015, Boeing recorded over 96 billion USD in sales, ranked 27th on the Fortune magazine "Fortune 500" list, ranked 90th on the "Fortune Global 500" list, and ranked 27th on the "World's Most Admired Companies" list.
History and Milestones
The Boeing Company has a rich history and we give you some remarkable milestones.
Boeing was founded on July 15th 1916 in Seattle by William Boeing, as "Pacific Aero Products Co"
Boeing, who studied at Yale University, worked initially in the timber industry, where he became wealthy and learned about wooden structures. This knowledge proved invaluable in his subsequent design and assembly of airplanes.
On April 6th, 1917, the U.S. declared War on Germany and later in the year entered World War I. On May 9 that same year, the company became the "Boeing Airplane Company". With the U.S. entering the war, Boeing knew that the U.S. Navy needed seaplanes for training.
When World War I ended in 1918, a large surplus of cheap, used military planes flooded the commercial airplane market, preventing aircraft companies from selling any new airplanes, driving many out of business. Others, including Boeing, started selling other products. Boeing built dressers, counters, and furniture, along with flat-bottom boats called Sea Sleds.
This first Boeing airplane was assembled in a lakeside hangar located on the northeast shore of Seattle's Lake Union. Many of Boeing's early planes were seaplanes.
In the early 70’s Boeing suffered from the simultaneous decline in Vietnam War military spending, the slowing of the space program as Project Apollo neared completion, the recession of 1969–70’s and the company's 2 billion USD debt as it built the new 747 airliner. Boeing did not receive any orders for more than a year.
But in January 1970, the first 747, a four-engine long-range airliner, flew its first commercial flight with Pan American World Airways. The 747 changed the airline industry, providing much larger seating capacity than any other airliner in production. The company has delivered over 1,500 Boeing 747s. The 747 had undergone continuous improvements to keep it technologically up-to-date. Larger versions have also been developed by stretching the upper deck. The newest version of the 747, the 747-8 is in production as of 2016.
In 1983, the economic situation started to improve. Boeing assembled its 1,000th 737 passenger aircraft. During the following years, commercial aircraft and their military versions became the basic equipment of airlines and air forces. As passenger air traffic increased, competition was harder, mainly from Airbus, a European newcomer in commercial airliner manufacturing. Boeing had to offer new aircraft, and developed the single-aisle 757, the larger, twin-aisle 767, and upgraded versions of the 737. An important project of these years was the Space Shuttle, to which Boeing contributed with its experience in space rockets acquired during the Apollo era. Boeing participated also with other products in the space program, and was the first contractor for the International Space Station (ISS) program.
In April 1994, Boeing introduced the most modern commercial jet aircraft at the time, the twin-engine 777, with a seating capacity of approximately 300 to 370 passengers.
In 1996, Boeing acquired Rockwell's aerospace and defense units. The Rockwell business units became a subsidiary of Boeing, named Boeing North American, Inc. Additionally, Rockwell International, developer of the B-1 bomber and the space shuttle, had agreed to sell the bulk of its aerospace and defense business to Boeing.
The consolidation of the aerospace industry reached a climax on December 15th, 1996 when two aerospace giants, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas (headquartered in St. Louis and with 63,000 employees and created in 1967 by the merger of the McDonnell Company and Douglas Aircraft) announced the merge in a 13 billion USD stock-for-stock transaction. The new company, still named Boeing, would surpass Lockheed Martin as the nation's largest defense contractor with estimated annual revenues of 48 billion USD. The merger was approved in the United States by The Federal Trade Commission on July 1st, 1997.
The acquisition made Boeing the only manufacturer of commercial jets in the United States while catapulting it ahead of the Lockheed Martin Corporation as the world's largest aerospace company and bolstering its status as the nation's leading exporter.
In January 2000, Boeing chose to expand its presence in another aerospace field of satellite communications by purchasing Hughes Electronics, including the Hughes Space and Communications Company, which had pioneered the satellite communications field.
After several decades of success, Boeing lost ground to Airbus and subsequently lost its lead in the airliner market in 2003. Multiple Boeing projects were pursued and then canceled,
In September 2001, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. Chicago, Dallas and Denver, competing to become the new home of the world's largest aerospace concern. Subsequently, Boeing streamlined its production and turned its attention to a new model, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The company also launched new variants of its successful 737 and 777 models.
On August 2nd, 2005, Boeing sold its Rocketdyne rocket engine division to Pratt & Whitney. On May 1, 2006, Boeing agreed to purchase Dallas, Texas-based Aviall, Inc. for 1.7 billion USD and retain 350 million USD in debt. Aviall, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Aviall Services, Inc. and ILS formed a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services (BCAS).
On December 1st, 2006, after regulatory approval, Boeing formed a joint venture with its competitor, Lockheed Martin, to form United Launch Alliance (ULA). The new venture is the largest provider of rocket launch services to the U.S. government.
On August 18th, 2007, NASA selected Boeing as the manufacturing contractor for the liquid-fueled upper stage of the Ares I rocket. The stage, based on both Apollo-Saturn and Space Shuttle technologies, was to be constructed at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans; Boeing constructed the S-IC stage of the Saturn V rocket at this site in the 1960s.
On November 17th, 2011, Indonesia based Lion Air had committed to ordering 201 Boeing 737 MAX and 29 737-900ER airliners for 22 billion USD value. This order was larger than any of Boeing's previous commercial aircraft sales. The deal included options for a further 150 airliners.
On January 5th, 2012, Boeing announced plans to close its facilities in Wichita, Kansas with 2,160 workers before 2014, more than 80 years after it was established. Boeing had employed as many as 40,000 people there. However the company announced a 26% increase in profits, 1.23 billion USD total for Q4 2013, due to higher demand for commercial aircraft. Later on in March 2016 Boeing announced to lay-off 4,000 employees from its commercial airplane division.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS)
Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) formerly known as Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) is responsible for defense and aerospace products and services. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems was formed in 2002 by combining the former ‘Military Aircraft and Missile Systems’ and ‘Space and Communications’ divisions. The BDS division, based in St. Louis at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Missouri makes Boeing the second-largest defense contractor in the world and was responsible for 45% of the company's income in 2011. Boeing chose to locate the defense systems offices in the St. Louis area because of the role of the space and aircraft programs of the former McDonnell Douglas location, and bipartisan support from area politicians.
BDS is a consolidated group which brought together major names in aerospace; Boeing Military Airplane Company, Hughes Satellite Systems, Hughes Helicopters (minus the commercial helicopter products, which were divested as MD Helicopters), Piasecki Helicopter, subsequently known as Boeing Vertol and then Boeing Helicopters, the St. Louis-based McDonnell division of the former McDonnell Douglas Company and the former North American Aviation division of Rockwell International.
Within the BDS division the Network & Space Systems, headquartered in Northern Virginia, is responsible for BCT Modernization, rocket launch systems, missile defense, satellites, other networking services and also the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs. The Network & Space Systems makes Boeing world's largest satellite manufacturer. The business has more than 60 years of space exploration expertise.
Boeing Satellite Development Center
The Boeing Satellite Development Center is a major business unit of the Boeing Defense, Space & Security division. It brought together Boeing satellite operations with that of GM Hughes Electronics' Space and Communications division in El Segundo, California.
Hughes Satellite systems
In 1948 the Hughes Aircraft Company (founded by Howard Hughes) formed the Aerospace Group within the company, divided into Hughes Space and Communications Group and Hughes Space Systems Division.
In 1953 the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) was formed, and Hughes Aircraft reformed as a subsidiary of the foundation. The charity status of the foundation allowed Hughes Aircraft to avoid taxes on its huge income. In 1961 the two Aerospace Group divisions were reformed as Hughes Space & Communications Company and launch the first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom, in 1963.
On April 5th, 1976 Howard Hughes died at the age of 70, leaving no will and in 1984 the Delaware Court of Chancery appointed eight trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who decided to sell Hughes Aircraft to General Motors for 5.2 billion USD.
GM merged Hughes Aircraft with its Delco Electronics unit to form Hughes Electronics. This group then consisted of:
▪ Delco Electronics Corporation
▪ Hughes Aircraft Company
▪ Hughes Space & Communications Company
▪ Hughes Network Systems
In 1995 Hughes Space & Communications Company became the world's biggest supplier of commercial satellites. In 1997 GM transferred Delco Electronics from Hughes Electronics to its Delphi Automotive Systems and later in that year sold the aerospace and defense operations of Hughes Electronics (Hughes Aircraft) to Raytheon.
Hughes Space & Communications Company remained independent until 2000, when it was purchased by Boeing and became Boeing Satellite Development Center (BDC).
Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) is one of the company’s five divisions. Its portfolio includes manned and unmanned aircraft programs, space and satellite systems, intelligence and security systems, and extensive integration expertise. BDS is a 31 billion USD business with about 50,000 employees worldwide. BDS is organized around five major business units:
- Boeing Military Aircraft; responsible for fighter aircraft, airlifters, aerial refueling tankers, helicopters, and airborne warfare systems. The group is headquartered in St. Louis.
- Network and Space Systems; World's largest satellite manufacturer; also offering electronic and information solutions, strategic missile and defense systems, and other space and intelligence systems. The business has more than 60 years of space exploration expertise.
- Global Services and Support (GS&S); Operating at 264 locations worldwide, this global business sustains aircraft and systems with a full spectrum of products and services, including aircraft maintenance, modification and upgrades; supply chain management; engineering and logistics support; pilot and maintenance training, and other defense and government services.
- Boeing Phantom Works; Creates and advances new products and capabilities by drawing on its expertise in innovation, advanced experimentation, and prototyping.
- BDS Development; Enhances performance on key defense and space pre-production development programs by consolidating management, expertise and resources into one organization. BDS is also a key partner in two space industry joint ventures.
Sea Launch S.A., Joint Venture
Sea Launch S.A., established in 1995 as a consortium of four companies from Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States, managed by Boeing with participation from the other shareholders, is a multinational spacecraft launch service that uses a mobile maritime launch platform for equatorial launches of satellites on specialized Zenit-3SL rockets. The first rocket was launched in March 1999. In 2010 Russian Energia purchased the majority of the shares and since 2016 the Russian S7 Group is owner of Sea Launch S.A.
By 2013, it had assembled and launched 31 rockets, with 3 failures and 1 partial failure. All have been communications satellites intended for geostationary transfer orbit with such customers as EchoStar, DirecTV, Eutelsat, XM Satellite Radio, PanAmSat (Intelsat), and Thuraya.
United Launch Alliance, Joint Venture with Lockheed Martin
On May 2nd, 2005, The Boeing Company and the Lockheed Martin Corporation announced their intention to form a joint venture called the United Launch Alliance (ULA), combining the production, engineering, test and launch operations associated with U.S. government launches of Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets, providing world-class space launch services for the U.S. government at lower cost.
Delta launch vehicles
Delta’s history stretches back to the late 1950’s when the U.S. government, responding to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in 1957, contracted for development of the rocket. These early Delta rockets derived their design from Thor, the U.S. Air Force’s intermediate-range ballistic missile. The first successful Delta launch was of NASA’s Echo 1A satellite on August 12th, 1960.
Delta II space launch system, originally designed and built by McDonnell Douglas is part of the Delta rocket family and entered service in 1989. Delta II vehicles included the Delta 6000, and two Delta 7000 variants (‘Light’ and ‘Heavy’).
In the early 1980’s, all United States expendable launch vehicles were planned to be phased out in favor of the Space Shuttle, which would be responsible for all government and commercial launches. After the Challenger disaster of 1986 President Ronald Reagan announced in December of that year that the Space Shuttle would no longer launch commercial payloads, and NASA would seek to purchase launches on expendable vehicles for missions that did not require crew or Shuttle support. McDonnell Douglas signed a contract with the U.S. Air Force in 1987 to provide 7 Delta II’s. These were intended to launch a series of GPS Block II satellites, which had previously been manifested for the Space Shuttle.
McDonnell Douglas began Delta III development in the mid-90’s as increasing satellite mass required more powerful launch vehicles. Delta III, with its liquid hydrogen second stage could bring twice as much mass as Delta II to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), but a string of two failures and one partial failure, along with the development of the much more powerful Delta IV, lead to the cancellation of Delta III program. The upgraded boosters would still find use on the Delta II, leading to the Delta II Heavy.
In total, the Delta II family was launched 153 times. One of the unsuccessful launches was for KT-Sat, the KoreaSat-1 satellite in 1995 that was put in a lower orbit due to failures.
The Delta III rocket was an expendable launch vehicle and the first launch was on August 26th in 1998. Of its three flights, the first two were failures, and the third, though declared successful, reached the low end of its targeted orbit range and carried only a dummy payload. The Delta III could deliver up to 8,400 pounds (3,800 kgs) to GTO, twice the payload of its predecessor, the Delta II.
Also the Delta IV is an expendable launch system in the Delta rocket family. The rocket's main components are designed by Boeing's Defense, Space & Security division and built in the United Launch Alliance (ULA) facility in Decatur, Alabama. Final assembly is completed at the launch site by ULA. The rockets were designed to launch payloads into orbit for the United States Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program and commercial satellite business. Delta IV rockets are available in five versions: Medium, Medium+ (4,2), Medium+ (5,2), Medium+ (5,4), and Heavy, to cover a range of payload size and weight and was primarily designed to satisfy the needs of the U.S. military.
The rockets are assembled at the Horizontal Integration Facility for launches from Cape Canaveral, and in a similar facility for launches from the Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The Delta IV entered the space launch market when global capacity was already much higher than demand. Furthermore, as an unproven design it has had difficulty finding a market in commercial launches, and the cost to launch a Delta IV is higher than that for competing vehicles. In 2003, Boeing pulled the Delta IV from the commercial market due to low demand and high costs. In 2005, Boeing stated that it planned to return the Delta IV to commercial service.
All of Delta IV's launches, with the exception of its debut launch carrying the Eutelsat W5 communications satellite for Eutelsat satellite operator, were paid for by the US government. In 2015, ULA stated that a Delta IV Heavy is sold for nearly 400 million USD. In March 2015, ULA announced plans to phase out all Delta IV launchers except the Delta IV Heavy by 2018. The Delta IV will be largely replaced by Atlas V of Lockheed Martin.
Atlas launch vehicles
Built on a heritage of sequential enhancements to the Atlas I, II and III families and developed in partnership with the US Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, the Atlas V provides a single system that can accommodate medium-lift to heavy-lift missions for US government and commercial launch customers. The continuous improvement approach builds on flight-proven components and previous configurations, including the Centaur upper stage flown on Atlas and Titan vehicles since the 1960’s and the RD-180 main engine, which first flew on the Atlas III. The Atlas I, II and III families are now retired.
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