At a space-themed corporate summit in Boston on June 19, 2019, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg announced that Boeing will be moving the headquarters of its space division from Arlington, Virginia, to Titusville, Florida.
Currently stationed near the Pentagon, the headquarters is only an office space where the Space and Launch Division, headed by Senior Vice President Jim Chilton is based. The move will only affect Chilton, his team, and their support staff, but Chilton regards it as an important step in keeping Boeing part of the space race.
“Expanding our Boeing presence on the Space Coast brings tremendous value for our commercial and government space programs through focused leadership, strategic investment, customer proximity and additional contributions to the vitality of the region,” said Chilton as part of a Boeing statement.
A lot of Boeing’s commercial crew work has been based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where they are using a hangar converted into an assembly facility for its CST-100 Starliner.
Boeing currently has quite a few tongs in the fire with regards to spaceflight, including a spacecraft and a space launch system. The company’s CST-100 Starliner, a large-capacity space capsule, is scheduled to have its first crewed flight before 2020, which will take place at Kennedy Space Center in Titusville. Boeing is also working on its Space Launch System, and an experimental spaceplane called the Phantom Express. As these and more of Boeing’s space-related programs are moving from development to actual operations, it seemed prudent to have the administration and operations in the same place.
While most of the news around commercial spaceflight tends to revolve around SpaceX and second-runner Blue Origins, Boeing certainly seems to be catching up. It even plans to make available one of the five seats on the Starliner for commercial customers. The others will be occupied by astronauts going to and from the International Space Station.
“We expect to see a viable space ecosystem, low Earth orbit ecosystem, evolve over the next decade,” said Muilenberg, talking excitedly about the Starliner making as many as six missions a year to the ISS and hopefully more low Earth orbit targets. “This is a big point of transition for The Boeing Company, another defining moment for us.”
The move is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.
Photo: A 3-D rendering of a spacecraft docking with the International Space Station. Credit: Shutterstock