Chair Force Engineer

Saturday, June 10, 2006

RIF'ed from the headlines

US Space News reports that Boeing's Delta workforce will be trimmed by 10%. In light of the Delta II's impending retirement after 2007, it seems like a logical thing to do, although the timing is premature.

Also hurting Boeing is the loss of market share to the Atlas V from Lockheed Martin. While the Delta IV won the lion's share of initial EELV launches, many of them were shifted back to the Atlas after the 2003 revelation that Boeing had acquired proprietary pricing data on the Atlas V. Atlas V has also seen a better flight rate than Delta IV since then, due primarily to a labor strike at Boeing (although glitches with the Delta IV last year didn't bode well either.)

As the United Launch Alliance appears to collapse, there is a real danger that Boeing might exit the launch business entirely unless Delta IV can start winning launch contracts again. The recent GOES-N launch was an optimistic sign, but we'll have to wait and see how Boeing's planned launches for the rest of 2006 (including the first Delta IV from the infamous SLC-6 at Vandenberg) turn out.