Boeing Booted from Contract Competition to Supply Space Station

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A new contract for a private company to fly cargo missions to the orbiting International Space Station was expected to be announced any day now. Instead, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday extended the award date to no later than January 30, 2016, and reportedly eliminated The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) from consideration for the contract.

A report at Florida Today reported the story earlier Thursday, and then added the following update:

While delaying its awards of new International Space Station cargo contracts, NASA today informed Boeing that it has been eliminated from the competition.

According to a report at Bloomberg, a Boeing spokeswoman confirmed that the company is no longer under consideration for the contract.

The contract, called Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2 in the lingo) was intended to award contracts with one or more companies for six or more flights per contract.  As with current resupply flights, these missions would launch from U.S. spaceports, and the contracted services would include logistical and research cargo delivery and return to and from the space station through fiscal year 2020, with the option to purchase additional launches through 2024.

The first resupply contract was split between Orbital ATK Inc. (NYSE: OA) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). The contract called for 20 flights, 8 from Orbital and 12 from SpaceX, to be completed on an indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity basis by the end of 2016. Orbital’s award was valued at $1.9 billion and SpaceX’s at $1.6 billion.

According to Florida Today, Orbital ATK and Sierra Nevada Corp. are still in contention for the award. The paper did not refer to SpaceX, although the company has also been a contender for the new contract.