Run of misfortune – Boeing dropped from ISS cargo contract competition

On 5th November 2016 NASA announced that Boeing will be no longer considered as an option in competition for ISS cargo missions.

Boeing space industry division, Defense, Space & Security, is out of luck for a long time. Since losing contract with NRO for FIA in 2005, lost contract for next generation GPS satellites and failed competition with Northrop for Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) Boeing seemed to be going on the defensive. But two days ago another misfortune came. NASA rejected Boeing in competition for new cargo contract for ISS (CRS2). Being considered as multibillion-dollar contract, would be breeze of fresh air for Boeing involved in manned Starliner CST-100 space taxi program developed with NASA and worth $4.2 billion program. Starliner designed as a solution for lifting men to ISS could be easily adapted to cargo spacecraft; it would give possibility for Boeing to earn double on one project. CST-100 is still in Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program along with SpaceX Dragon V2. Originally designed as reusable (up to ten times) manned capsule, Starliner lost competition in CRS2 with SpaceX Dragon and Orbital ATK Cygnus.  Paradoxically Dragon (which seems to grab all the laurels for SpaceX), main competition in Commercial Crew Transportation Capability program, was designed as cargo vehicle with possible adaptation for manned flights; such modification is probably harder than adopting manned vehicle like CST-100 for cargo missions.  Another bitter pill for Boeing is fact that NASA, which seems to be inclined towards proven solutions (SpaceX and Orbital have proven vehicles), is open for new and unverified concepts. As Sierra Nevada announced, their Dream Chaser spaceplane is still considered as possible solution in ISS cargo missions. As NASA announced that final verdict in CRS2 will be delayed to 2016, Boeing has still a chance for modifying CST-100 to meet NASA demands or possibility for filling formal protest, just like after awarding Northrop in LRS-B.