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Date: 23 Aug 93 18:59:07 GMT
From: Dani Eder <>
Subject: Boeing TSTO

In article <> (Henry
Spencer) writes:

>The story I hear is that Boeing actually has a number of ideas about doing
>launchers -- that being one of them -- and has made no corporate-level
>decision among them.  Boeing has been thinking about getting into the
>launcher business for a long time.  They will probably continue to think
>about it unless they find a customer willing to commit to buying a whole
>bunch of them... at which point that customer's preferred approach will
>matter a lot more than Boeing's (unless Boeing thinks the customer's
>preferred approach just won't work).

As someone who works for Boeing, and sees this from the inside, perhaps
I should comment.  Please don't think that The Boeing Company (our
official corporate name) is a single monolithic enterprise with a single
mind.  We have 20,000 engineers and scientists working here, or about
1% of all the engineers and scientists in the United States.  Many ideas
are generated by working-level engineers.  A few get reviewed by a
division vice president.  Once in a great while one gets to the Board
of Directors for authorization.  We had for a number of years at
least two groups numbering in the tens of engineers each devoted to
the launch vehicle business (one for civilian space, i.e. NASA, and
one for military space i.e. Air Force).  In addition, there are
'preliminary design' groups which operate on internal money or small
government studies on the one-to-a-few-engineers level of effort.
Then there is the individual who works on an idea and then presents
a paper at a technical conference on his own, who happens to work
at Boeing.  Any of these may be picked up for an article in Aviation
Week, especially if there is a nice model, artist's rendering, or
computer graphic they can print.  To the outside observer, it is
difficult to tell if there is 2 man-months or 100 man-years backing
up the picture in AvWeek.

Otherwise, I agree with Henry's statement quoted above more or less.
We do in fact have a lot of ideas on space transport (and I'm responsible
for creating several of them, and I know most of the people who 
are responsible for the others).  Most likely, our Board of Directors
has not, in it's official capacity, had any space things presented
to it recently aside from taking on the Space Station prime contractor

Even if a customer did come to us with money in hand asking us to
build something, we might not do it, for corporate reasons: would
it piss off another customer (like the US government), would it
harm our company reputation if it blew up or crashed, is the financial
stability of the customer good enough that we won't get stuck with
200 engineers with nothing to do if he goes belly-up?

Dani Eder

Dani Eder/Meridian Investment Company/(205)464-2697(w)/232-7467(h)/
Rt.1, Box 188-2, Athens AL 35611/Location: 34deg 37' N 86deg 43' W +100m alt.

Date: 23 Aug 93 15:53:50 GMT
From: Dani Eder <>
Subject: DC-X Update - First Flight 100% Successful

In article <> (Allen W.
Sherzer) writes:

>Boeing didn't begin developing 747 until they had sold enough to make it
>look profitable. If you think DC should be funded by having government
>buy launch services, I agree that would be preferable. At the same time,
>I can't help but wonder how sincere you can be in this view considering
>your past Shuttle postings. Again, if this represents a change of heart,
>welcome aboard; we can use your help.

Mr. Sherzer is incorrect about the history of the 747.  Boeing in fact
begins development of a potential aircraft a number of years before
offering it for sale.  The 737-X which has just become offered is a
case in point.  For the past several years, design tems have been
talking with the airlines and our internal marketing people to determine
what should be put in the next version of the 737.  The teams
may number about 300 people, and they develop quite detailed concepts
by most standards.  When they think they have an airplane that will
sell, they ask our Board of Directors for persmission to offer the
plane to the airlines.  With the 737-X this just happened.  For some
period of about a year or so we will go to the airlines and see
if we can drum up enough orders to get the product into detailed
design and production.  In order to sell to the airlines, we have to
have enough information on the details to satisfy their technical
and management people.  Given sufficient 'kick-off' orders, we then
go on to the next step.  The 777, which is further along (it will
roll out next year and be delivered to customers in 1995, the first
one is being fabricated and assembled as I type) seemed to require
about 75 orders to kick off the program.  The number we have to sell
to make back our development cost is not public information, but is
generally considered in the industry to be on the order of 300-500
units, so by no means do we wait to start development until we
sell enough to make a profit.  On the contrary, we make a several
billion dollar bet that the market will be sufficient to make a profit.
We make that bet on a lot of good information, but there is the
very real possibility of being wrong.

Dani Eder

Dani Eder/Meridian Investment Company/(205)464-2697(w)/232-7467(h)/
Rt.1, Box 188-2, Athens AL 35611/Location: 34deg 37' N 86deg 43' W +100m alt.

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