Boeing shifts its team leaders for space station and Starliner space programs
Boeing's John Mulholland gives a briefing to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine during a visit to the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2018. Hardware for the Boeing CST-100 Starliner space taxi can be seen in the background. (NASA photo / Kim Shiflett)
With the beginning of a new era in the commercial alignment of the International Space Station, Boeing is realigning its top managers for the space station program - and for the program that is designed to send Starliner capsules back and forth.
Mark Mulqueen, who has been a Boeing program manager for space stations since 2015, will retire on July 2. During his 35 years with Boeing, Mulqueen has held various management positions - for example, as deputy program manager for the space station and deputy program manager for the commercial crew program.
From the beginning, Boeing was the prime contractor for the US segment of the International Space Station. The orbit outpost will be occupied continuously for 20 years in November this year.
"Mark has made an immense contribution to Boeing's manned space programs, and his legacy will continue well beyond his departure," said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch, in an email to employees at the he announced today's changes in management.
Effective June 26, John Mulholland will assume the role of Vice President and Program Manager for the International Space Station. Mulholland has been in charge of the design and development of the Starliner CST-100 space taxi since 2011, with which astronauts are to be brought to and from the space station.
In 2014, NASA awarded Boeing a $ 4.2 billion fixed-price contract to develop the Starliner as part of a commercial space transportation system after the space shuttle fleet departed in 2011. SpaceX received a similar order worth $ 2.6 billion US dollars for the development of its crew dragon capsule, which sent NASA astronauts to the station for the first time last month.
Starliner launched an unscrewed test flight into orbit last December, but a timing error thwarted Boeing's plan to travel to and from the space station. A joint independent review between NASA and Boeing revealed dozens of fixes that needed to be made. Another attempt without a crew is expected later this year - and assuming the flight goes well, Starliner's first crewed trip to the station would take place next year.
In a financial report released in January, Boeing said that a pre-tax charge of $ 410 million would be incurred to cover the cost of a second flight without a crew.
Before Mulholland took on the Starliner program, he was Vice President and Program Manager for Boeing's part of the Space Shuttle program. (The prime contractor for the shuttle program was United Space Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.)
Effective June 26, John Vollmer will assume Mulholland's role as Vice President and Program Manager for the CST-100 Starliner program.
Vollmer joined the Starliner program this year to help implement the recommendations of the independent review team. Vollmer was previously chief engineer of the space station program.
His experience with the space station goes back 33 years before Boeing received the first order for the program. He was a member of the Station Redesign team in 1993 when Space Station Freedom was redesigned to accommodate Russian involvement. Vollmer also acted as stage manager for the launch package for the first US element of the station, which started in 1998 and is now known as the Unity node.
"Your leadership will help us address the challenges and opportunities ahead as we advance Boeing's 60-year legacy in human space," said Chilton.
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