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article imageBoeing has grand opening of commercial spaceship plant in Florida

By Karen Graham     Sep 6, 2015 in Business
Cape Canaveral - Aircraft manufacturer Boeing made quite a splash Friday when the company announced the opening of its assembly plant in Florida for its first line of commercial spaceships which will be used by NASA.
The grand opening of the assembly plant on Friday at the Kennedy Space Center was the culmination of months of negotiations between Boeing and Florida, which has so far invested over $2 billion to lure aerospace companies to the state.
“This is a point in history that reflects a new era in human spaceflight,” Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said at a grand opening ceremony. The new facility will be home to the company's newly named CST-100 Starliner spaceships, which NASA plans to use to transport crews to the International Space Station (ISS).
The Starliners will be prepared for flight in a processing hangar once used for the NASA space shuttles. The capsule's first test flight is scheduled for 2017. The Starliners will fly from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard Atlas 5 rockets, built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Boeing will get up to $4.2 billion from NASA for the test flight and up to six missions to the ISS. NASA has a similar contract with SpaceX which plans to accomplish the work for $2.6 billion. NASA has already contributed $621 million to Boeing and $545 million for SpaceX for design of the capsule as well as development.
Both the Boeing and SpaceX capsules are capable of taking as many as seven crew members, or a mix of crew and supplies to the $100 billion space station that travels 250 miles above the Earth. Mullenberg declined to say how much of Boeing's own money was put into the project.
But Mullenberg did say that the ultimate success of the project would depend on customers beyond NASA. Boeing already has an agreement with Bigelow Aerospace, a privately-owned space transportation service. Bigelow has plans to lease out space aboard its planned orbiting outposts for scientific research and commercial programs.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will be at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on September 15 to announce the start of a new commercial space project, Blue Origin. The company will manufacture rockets in an industrial park close by the Kennedy Space Center. This project is also backed by state and local economic development companies, according to News Daily.
More about Boeing aircraft company, CST100 Starliner spaceships, space shuttle hangar, Cape canaveral, new era in space travel
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