Higher, Faster, Further: 1970-1996

The Boeing Company ... The Giants Merge

By the 1990s, Boeing military projects included work on the B-2 stealth bomber and upgrading Boeing-made military aircraft such as the B-52 and the KC-135. Space group workers built the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster to position satellites into high Earth orbit and constructed the Sea Launch to launch commercial satellites.

Several ground-breaking achievements had marked the 1990s for The Boeing Company. The 777 family was launched Oct. 29, 1990, when United Airlines ordered 34 of the wide-body transports and placed options for 34 more. In addition, in 1993, NASA selected of Boeing as prime contractor for the International Space Station.

The 777 was sized, shaped and launched according to market demand. The Boeing 777 was the first jetliner to be 100 percent digitally designed using three-dimensional computer graphics. Throughout the design process, the airplane was "preassembled" on the computer, eliminating the need for a costly, full-scale mock-up. In June 1995, United Airlines flew its first 777 in revenue service.

As the prime contractor of the International Space Station, Boeing was responsible for design, development, construction and integration of the ISS and helping NASA operate the orbital outpost. On Jan. 13, 1995, Boeing signed a contract with NASA to design and develop the International Space Station. The Boeing Defense and Space Group was prime contractor, co-anchored by Boeing Missiles and Space Division, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, and the Rocketdyne division of Rockwell Aerospace.

Phil Condit became president of The Boeing Company in 1992, chief executive officer in April 1996, and was elected chairman of the board in 1997. Under Condit's leadership, several mergers and acquisitions transformed the company into a broad-based, global enterprise.

In December 1996, The Boeing Company merged with Rockwell International Corporation's aerospace and defense units, uniting the two companies. Rockwell's space systems, aircraft division, Rocketdyne, Autonetics, missile systems and aircraft modification were renamed Boeing North American Inc. and operated as a Boeing subsidiary. Boeing got out of the rocket propulsion business in August 2005, when it sold the Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power division to United Technologies Corp. At that time, the sale included sites and assets in California, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

On Aug. 1, 1997, Boeing, with its North American component, merged with McDonnell Douglas Corp. Phil Condit remained as chief executive officer and chairman of the new Boeing board of directors. Harry Stonecipher, formerly McDonnell Douglas president and chief executive officer, became president and chief operating officer. John F. McDonnell, son of James S. McDonnell and formerly McDonnell Douglas chairman of the board, became a member of the Boeing board of directors.

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