Friday, April 4, 2008

Various Stories, Soulless Corporations and powerful Senators

Along with a flood of information of varying quality about the ever-buzz worthy reports of the agenda-driven GAO drumming up harsh criticism of the Constellation, news related to lunar exploration includes a few other blurbs interesting enough for me to make mention:

For example, the University of Maine will begin actual experimentation of the inflatable lunar habitat concept fairly soon.

Boeing has been hog-tied into a NASA Mentor-Protege agreement with Orion Propulsion, a one-woman start-up near Marshall Space Flight Center. According to Space Market, Orion "currently supports Boeing on Ares I reaction control system (RCS) development. Potential future activities include integration of flight hardware, production of test equipment, tooling and provision of technical-support services. The RCS includes multiple small rocket engines and their supporting subsystems to provide control over the orientation of the Ares I (first stage and upper stage) during its ascent to orbit.

"Boeing is under contract to NASA to produce the Ares I upper stage and instrument unit avionics. It will build the upper stage at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in late 2009.

"Boeing will help Orion with much of their internal training to deal with propulsion system processes and items needed in producing the RCS for Ares I," said Ray Robin, a supplier management official in Boeing's Exploration Launch Systems group. "We will also share some of our best Lean manufacturing practices with them to ensure they have efficient production processes." Boeing will also provide support with business development, human resources and supply chain management.

"The benefit to Boeing is that we get a partner who meets our schedule and cost requirements and provides technical expertise in reaction control systems -- it's a win-win for everyone," said Robin.

And here's some more Mega-company PR-poop that could have been computer generated - and probably was:

"We are very excited to be chosen as NASA's first Mentor-Protege this year and are grateful to have the opportunity to grow our business with the support of Boeing," said OPI Chief Executive Officer Tim Pickens. "This agreement will help us become a more cost-effective and viable subcontractor to NASA, Boeing and other customers. We look forward to making the most of this historic opportunity to contribute to our nation's new launch vehicle."

Boeing, 2 California Aerospace Suppliers Receive Nunn-Perry Awards for Outstanding Teamwork on Department of Defense Mentor-Protege Program The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and two of its California-based suppliers, Pacific Contours and KAP Manufacturing, received Nunn-Perry Awards from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) last month in Daytona Beach, Fla., at the DOD Mentor-Protege Conference. Pacific Contours is located in Anaheim, and KAP Manufacturing operates in San Dimas.

The Nunn-Perry Award, named in honor of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, recognizes outstanding teamwork in the DOD Mentor-Protege Program. Both men were instrumental in creating the program, which is designed to encourage DOD contractors to help diverse small businesses develop technical and business capabilities. Winners are selected based on the companies' success in creating cost efficiencies, enhancing the protege company's capabilities and increasing business opportunities with DOD suppliers.

"The innovation and enterprising spirit that small and diverse suppliers bring is crucial to Boeing remaining the leader in aerospace," said Janell Bursac, director of Supplier Diversity for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "The tools and skills shared and the objectives met through programs such as Mentor-Protege are essential to Boeing's focus on growth and productivity."

And here's some other award that follow a pattern of diversity sure to prove to Senator Barbara Mikulski that Boeing is not the soulless corporation designed to make money for we who have owned stock in here since they rolled out the Dash-80:

Read on. See the pattern here? (Remind me to add the links later...)

"Pacific Contours, a woman-owned small business and a supplier to Boeing for more than 10 years, manufactures bulkheads, escape hatches, jettison cockpit doors, and upper and lower cabin doors for the CH-47 Chinook helicopter program. The company's mentor-protege relationship with Boeing has focused on Lean manufacturing improvements and augmenting the skills of its craftsman machinists by providing technology training through California State University (CSU). Additionally, an internship for CSU students provided computer training to Pacific Contours employees and help with revamping the supplier's Web site. Since entering the mentor-protege agreement, Pacific Contours has doubled its work force, increased its physical space and added equipment to support Boeing's growing business needs. As further indication of a successful partnership, Boeing recognized Pacific Contours as its 2006 Supplier of the Year in the Diversity/Boeing Protege category.

"KAP Manufacturing is a woman-owned small business specializing in custom machine parts and assemblies for the aerospace and defense industries. The company manufactures machine parts that support numerous Boeing programs, including F-15 and F/A-18 fighter aircraft, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and Airborne Laser. The mentor-protege agreement with Boeing has focused on improving the company's capabilities and affordability. Training provided by Cerritos College and Florida International University as part of the program has reduced cycle time, increased capacity and efficiency, and improved quality and delivery performance.

"Helping suppliers like Pacific Contours and KAP Manufacturing develop is good for them, good for Boeing and good for our customers," Bursac said. "And the Mentor-Protege Program is just one of many ways we foster mutually beneficial relationships with our suppliers. We feel honored that the Department of Defense once again has recognized our supplier-diversity successes."

"Boeing, which has received 10 Nunn-Perry honors since the award's inception in 1995, currently has active DOD mentor-protege agreements with 17 suppliers. The company also has seven Department of Homeland Security mentor-protege agreements, one NASA mentor-protege supplier relationship and many informal supplier-mentoring programs across the enterprise."

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