Boeing Starliner completes crucial abort system test

December 1st, 2019

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft completed a critical safety milestone on Nov. 11 in an end-to-end test of its abort system. The Pad Abort Test took place at Launch Complex 32 at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The test was designed to verify each of Starliner’s systems will function not only separately, but in concert, to protect astronauts by carrying them safely away from the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency prior to liftoff. This was Boeing’s first flight test with Starliner as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to return human spaceflight launches to the International Space Station from American soil.

“Tests like this one are crucial to help us make sure the systems are as safe as possible,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. “We are thrilled with the preliminary results, and now we have the job of really digging into the data and analyzing whether everything worked as we expected.”

During the test, Starliner’s four launch abort engines, and several orbital maneuvering and attitude control thrusters simultaneously ignited to rapidly push the spacecraft away from the test stand. Five seconds into flight, the abort engines shut off as planned, transferring steering to the control thrusters for the next five seconds.

A pitcharound maneuver rotated the spacecraft into position for landing as it neared its peak altitude of approximately 4,500 feet. Two of three Starliner’s main parachutes deployed just under half a minute into the test, and the service module separated from the crew module a few seconds later. Although designed with three parachutes, two opening successfully is acceptable for the test perimeters and crew safety. After one minute, the heat shield was released and airbags inflated, and the Starliner eased to the ground beneath its parachutes.

The demonstration took only about 95 seconds from the moment the simulated abort was initiated until the Starliner crew module touched down on the desert ground.

“Emergency scenario testing is very complex, and today our team validated that the spacecraft will keep our crew safe in the unlikely event of an abort,” said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. “Our teams across the program have made remarkable progress to get us to this point, and we are fully focused on the next challenge—Starliner’s uncrewed flight to demonstrate Boeing’s capability to safely fly crew to and from the space station.”

Boeing’s next mission, called Orbital Flight Test, will launch an uncrewed Starliner spacecraft to the station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. The launch is targeted for Dec. 17.

Boeing awards $100,000 grant to expand Makerspaces in CCISD intermediate schools

March 4th, 2019

Boeing presents the Clear Creek Education Foundation with a $100,000 grant to fund Makerspaces at all 10 CCISD intermediate schools. Pictured, from left, are CCISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith, Boeing Global Engagement official Dayni Alba, Boeing ISS Program Manager and Houston Site Leader Mark Mulqueen and Clear Creek Education Foundation Executive Director Deborah Laine.

The Boeing Company: Houston, has generously awarded The Clear Creek Education Foundation a $100,000 grant to expand Makerspaces at all 10 intermediate schools in the Clear Creek Independent School District, making it the largest grant awarded in this region by Boeing.

Makerspaces are the center of innovation and these hands-on centers will expose students to subject matter that is typically taught in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classes at the secondary level. The labs are specially designed to accommodate the needs of students taking on the challenge of learning cutting edge technology and engineering skills.

Libraries have always been the place to get a book, do research and spend time reading in quiet place. Today’s libraries still have those areas, but now with so much more. When you walk into CCISD libraries you see exploration, collaboration and creation. Students are utilizing 3D printers to create prototypes, leading classes and groups on robotic component design, Minecraft and coding. Students are flying drones, composing music on digital audio systems and using green screens to illustrate content knowledge such as scientific processes and animation.

School libraries have been transitioning from the “traditional” library to these learning commons and CCEF has been an instrumental partner in transforming these libraries. In the last three years, CCEF has funded 17 grants in variety of forms to teachers and students either developing or enhancing Makerspaces at their campus, totaling over $54,000 and impacting over 22,000 students each year.

Skills such as creation, exploration and innovation have now become part of state and national standards making the growing demand of these learning hubs apparent in CCISD. Funding from Boeing will provide Makerspace tools in all 10 intermediate schools focusing on the following concepts: Design and Production, Coding/Robotics and Real-World Challenges.

“Clear Creek ISD proves daily the success they’re having educating our kids. When community leaders, like The Boeing Company, share our vision to provide innovation, then we’ve all done our work,” CCEF Executive Director Deborah Laine said. “We’re fortunate to have such a strong bond and shared vision with our community partners.”

“CCISD’s innovative Makerspaces put STEAM concepts in action by providing experiential learning for students,” said Dayni Alba, Boeing Global Engagement. “We’re excited to partner with CCEF to bring more Makerspaces to their schools and inspire students to explore cutting-edge technology.”

CIS – Bay Area recognizes Boeing employees’ support

October 1st, 2018

Communities In Schools – Bay Area recently presented a plaque to representatives of the Employee Community Fund of Boeing Houston in recognition and appreciation of their support of CIS-Bay Area programming.

CIS-Bay Area is a nonprofit organization that provides dropout prevention programming for at-risk and economically disadvantaged children and has programs on 16 Clear Creek and Dickinson ISD campuses in Harris and Galveston counties. This year 1,275 students will receive case management services and over 14,000 will participate in CIS-Bay Area campus-wide activities.

One of the largest employee-owned and managed funds of its kind in the world, the Employees Community Fund of The Boeing Co. has been empowering employees to make greater impact by pooling their tax-deductible donations for more than 60 years. Since 2016, Boeing Houston ECF has awarded $14,500 in grant support for Communities In Schools – Bay Area school-based dropout prevention programming.

CIS- Bay Area Executive Director Dr. Peter Wuenschel, met with Boeing Houston employees to personally thank them and the ECF for their support. “Boeing Houston ECF has a long history of generously supporting local nonprofit organizations, and Communities In Schools – Bay Area is honored to be a recipient of Boeing ECF grants for the last two years. I am so appreciative of the support from Boeing ECF, and their commitment to learning about the issues and challenges our community’s children and families face.”

CIS-Bay Area’s mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. For more information on Communities In Schools – Bay Area dropout prevention programs, visit or call 281-486-6698.

Through purposeful investments, employee engagement and thoughtful advocacy efforts, Boeing and its employees support innovative partnerships and programs that align with our strategic objectives, create value and help build better communities worldwide. To learn more, visit

Congressman Culberson ready for NASA to go to the moon, Mars

July 1st, 2018

Congressman John Culberson, second from left, stops for a photo with, from left, Jacobs Vice President Lon Miller, Oceaneering Vice President Mike Bloomfield and Orbital ATK Vice President Brian Duffy, as he prepares to return to Washington.

Story and Photos by Mary Alys Cherry

In case you have been wondering when we will ever get to Mars, and even back to the moon again, you are not alone. Congressman John Culberson has been, too.

He came down to Clear Lake for a visit with a group of aerospace executives over at Oceaneering’s headquarters on Space Center Boulevard and was quick to let everyone know that all of Washington had their backs.

Early arrivals for the meeting at Oceaneering Space Systems included, from left, UTC Aerospace Systems Business Development Director William Bastedo, Orbital ATK Vice President Brian Duffy, Oceaneering Business Development Director Dr. Carl Walz and Bastion Technologies Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jayant Ramakrishnan.

“Don’t worry about funding,” Culberson said. “The president, vice president and Congress are all behind you. Forget what you see on TV. We all love the space program,” he told the roomful of representatives from various aerospace firms.

Then he looked around the table at Boeing ISS Program Manager Mark Mulqueen, Lockheed Martin Orion Deputy Program Manager Larry Price, Orbital Vice President Brian Duffy and Oceaneering Space Systems Vice President and General Manager Mike Bloomfield, and after expressing his love for the space program, wanted to know what was the holdup. When are we going to go to the moon and on the Mars?

To which the aerospace executives explained the many problems involved in going into deep space, keeping the astronauts safe, the holdups they had faced and how they have been working things out while both NASA headquarters and the Johnson Space Center were going through a change in management

Afterwards, the popular congressman spoke to the aerospace executives, who were joined by all the Oceaneering employees, giving them an update on the NASA budget.

Boeing’s Above and Beyond exhibit here ‘breath taking’
Boeing also was in the spotlight in recent days, inviting aerospace friends to its new groundbreaking Above and Beyond exhibit at Space Center Houston that explores the wonder of flight and the marvels of aerospace innovation, design and technology.

There is only one word to describe it: breath taking.

Boeing said “Above and Beyond is designed to be the most interactive exhibition on aerospace ever to tour, with approximately 5,000 square feet of exhibition space and offering five themed galleries featuring dozens of interactive experiences.”

One eye catching feature was the Space Elevator simulation, which takes one to the edge of the universe.

One person attending said he had been going to Space Center Houston regularly for almost 15 years. By far, this was the most interesting, best “hands on” interactive experience ever hosted at Space Center Houston!

NASA Associate Administrator Jaiwon Shin said, “The tenacity of the human spirit couldn’t be more evident than in its never-ending quest to understand and explore the world around it. This exhibit is a celebration of the innovation that made flight possible during the last century, and serves as an inspiration for the next generation of aviation and space visionaries.”

Above and Beyond opens as Boeing enters its second century of aerospace achievement and will make its worldwide debut at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum Aug. 1. Afterwards, there are stops in Dubai, St. Louis, Charleston, S.C., Riyadh, Seattle, London, Tokyo and Chicago.

Meanwhile, Boeing was preparing for the first flight later this year of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, which it is building to fly astronauts to the International Space Station

JSC, Lockheed test Orion escape feature
As the Space Center Houston exhibit was opening, Lockheed Martin was busy over at the Johnson Space Center planning to test a special model of the Orion that it expects to carry astronauts to Mars.

If all goes as planned during the test at Kennedy Space Center in April 2019, the Orion will separate from a booster rocket at 31,000 feet in half a second. If it’s a success, it will mean the eventual crew of astronauts can escape if the rocket should explode. It also will mean a trip to the moon in 2023 and a journey to Mars in 2030 is likely. An uncrewed flight of the Orion is planned for December 2019.
However, because of construction delays with the Space Launch System rocket, that could change.

Movers & Shakers: Mark Mulqueen

June 1st, 2018

Name: Mark Mulqueen

Occupation: ISS Program Manager, Boeing

Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.

Current Home: Pasadena, Tx.

Family: Married with three daughters

My favorite writer is: Tom Clancy

Someone I’d like to meet is: JJ Watt – His charity work has been inspiring

If I could switch places with someone for just one day, I’d choose: DeShaun Watson – He’s the most exciting and dynamic quarterback out there and he plays here in Houston!

My favorite performers are: Coldplay

I like to spend my leisure time: On outdoor sports

If I could travel anywhere, I’d go to: Europe – There is so much history there it mesmerizes me. There’s not one place you can go and be bored.

My favorite meal is: A good filet mignon and a glass of red wine

As I youngster, I wanted to grow up to be: An engineer. I knew very early on that I wanted to build things

You’ll never catch me: Slowing down on the job

The thing that bugs me the most is: Having to do something twice

My favorite movie is: Guardians of the Galaxy – It’s just a lot of fun and the music is great

Few people know: I’m a jokester, I really like good jokes

Bastion, Boeing sign agreement

October 1st, 2016

Boeing Vice President – Commercial Programs John Mulholland shows CST-100 Starliner flight hardware to Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana, left, and Bastion Technologies President Jorge Hernandez.

Boeing Vice President – Commercial Programs John Mulholland shows CST-100 Starliner flight hardware to Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana, left, and Bastion Technologies President Jorge Hernandez.

Boeing and Houston-based Bastion Technologies, Inc., a Boeing supplier for almost 20 years, have signed an agreement under a NASA program to help grow Bastion’s expertise and opportunities in the aerospace market.

Bastion was chosen because of its quality work history on Boeing programs and its ongoing growth potential as both a Boeing supplier and a standalone NASA contractor.

Called the Mentor-Protégé Program, the initiative encourages NASA prime contractors (mentors) to help small businesses (protégés) develop expertise needed to perform NASA work, growing and diversifying the agency’s supplier base.
During the next 18 months, Boeing and Bastion Technologies will share best practices in areas such as manufacturing, quality, marketing and business development.

“Bastion is an excellent example of how Boeing and small businesses can collaborate and grow as teammates and as individual companies,” said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Programs. “Through Mentor-Protégé, we’ll accelerate our common support of NASA’s critical work advancing human spaceflight capabilities.”

“We have cherished our relationship with Boeing, which began with our work on the digital pre-assembly of the International Space Station to our work on today’s CST-100 Starliner program,” said Jorge Hernandez, President, Bastion Technologies. “We look forward to many more years of cutting-edge work with Boeing and strengthening our aerospace ties through this mentorship program.”

Boeing, one of 26 NASA prime contractors serving as mentors, commits considerable resources toward supporting and developing its supplier network. The company committed more than $5 billion to contracts with small and diverse businesses in 2015.

Bastion is a certified small, minority-owned engineering and scientific services company headquartered in Houston. Its products and services include mechanical, electrical and structural design and analysis, systems engineering, information technology and safety and mission assurance services. Bastion’s support to the Starliner program will provide the company a considerable foundation in the Houston and Florida communities.

Boeing to mark 100th anniversary

January 1st, 2016

Boeing celebrates its centennial anniversary by receiving a proclamation from the city of Houston for contributions to the region’s economy. Pictured at the ceremony are, from left, Brian Freedman, Boeing State and Local Government Operations; Joy Bryant, Boeing Houston site leader; Houston City Councilman Dave Martin; Boeing Space Exploration Vice President and General Manager John Elbon; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Darcie Durham, Boeing State and Local Government Operations; and Ken Ulmer, Boeing Space Exploration Communications.

Boeing celebrates its centennial anniversary by receiving a proclamation from the city of Houston for contributions to the region’s economy. Pictured at the ceremony are, from left, Brian Freedman, Boeing State and Local Government Operations; Joy Bryant, Boeing Houston site leader; Houston City Councilman Dave Martin; Boeing Space Exploration Vice President and General Manager John Elbon; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Darcie Durham, Boeing State and Local Government Operations; and Ken Ulmer, Boeing Space Exploration Communications.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Boeing, which has been an integral part of the Bay Area community for many years, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

And, as Boeing points out, during the past 100 years, man has gone from walking on Earth to walking on the moon. From riding horses to flying jet airplanes. “With each decade, aviation technology crossed another frontier, and, with each crossing, the world changed,” the aerospace giant, that builds passenger airliners, military aircraft, space capsules and more, points out on its website.

Not only has the company become a force in many fields, it has been part of a rich pioneering legacy in Texas for more than 70 years. Many will remember its days here as McDonnell Douglas. Today it has more than 4,300 employees in multiple locations in Texas – both commercial and defense customers in aerospace, electronic fabrications, aircraft maintenance and repair and much more.

Boeing Space Exploration provides support services to NASA at the Johnson Space Center, is the prime contractor for the International Space Station and has been awarded a $4.2 billion contract to develop the next generation of spacecraft, as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

Bay Area Houston Magazine