A case for strategic change in the new space age
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Since the Space Race of the 1960s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been the face of the U.S. space industry, responsible for driving aeronautics research, exploring our solar system through human and robotic missions, and inspiring the nation through scientific achievement. NASA and its core group of large aerospace contractors have worked to successfully carry out U.S. space exploration goals and have been responsible for some of the most significant engineering successes in history. Over the past decade or so, however, it has increasingly been the private space sector advancing new markets, capturing the public imagination, and working to reduce the timeline and cost of access to space. As the Obama administration’s new space policy begins to put increased emphasis on developing the U.S. commercial space sector, legacy NASA contractors are starting to see what may be the beginnings of a new competitive environment in the human spaceflight market. With the end of the Space Shuttle Program looming, and the restructuring of its successor the Constellation Program in progress, NASA continues to look for a way forward for its human spaceflight program. At the same time the agency’s contractors are dealing with a loss of significant work statement, a lack of new development programs, and an increase in the number of competitors entering the commercial space market. As Boeing Space Exploration attempts to traverse this turbulent period it must also look ahead to the competitive conditions which may result from these changes. It is critical that companies such as Boeing analyze the current structural trends in the industry and attempt to develop a robust strategy to position the company going forward. This paper aims to present analysis of the current market challenges faced by Boeing Space Exploration and the emerging competitive environment in the human spaceflight industry. General competitive strategies are discussed along with recommendations on which strategic pursuits might best allow the division to maintain its leadership in the industry and successfully compete in a new, more commercial space market.