Explore space to change the world

Boeing Chief Technology Officer
Senior Vice President, Engineering, Test & Technology

I’m sure you know that the opening voiceover of “Star Trek” describes space as “the final frontier.” To me, though, space isn’t the final frontier; it’s the new frontier.

There is so much about space that we don’t know. For example, Proxima b, a possibly habitable planet rotating around the star Proxima Centauri, was identified in August 2016.

Those of us at Boeing share an irrepressible curiosity to discover and learn about a universe of topics—whether it’s the molecular structure of new materials that could make our airplanes even more capable or the celestial bodies that lie light years beyond Earth. That’s why we’re active in space, which is the focus of this edition of Innovation Quarterly. The work we do in space aligns with Boeing’s overall vision, which states that we aim to “connect, protect, explore and inspire the world through aerospace innovation.”

Right now we’re working on the CST-100 Starliner space capsule, a part of the next new spacecraft for low-Earth orbit missions such as flying to the International Space Station—for which Boeing is NASA’s prime contractor. We’re also building NASA’s Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket; and Phantom Express, a vehicle to demonstrate technologies for rapid, aircraft-like access to space. What’s more, we build satellites, such as the GPS SiriusXM constellations. We also launch satellites with all-electric propulsion, which can be up to 1,000 times more efficient than satellites using chemical propellant.

In addition, we’re investigating developments for new vehicles of future generations. These include products powered by hypersonics, as well as those that can reduce the cost of space access by orders of magnitude.

The chance to be a part of programs like these is what makes a career at Boeing exciting and meaningful. Our people are changing the world