Boeing had utilized vast amounts of time, labor, energy, money and resources into the Apollo Program of the 1960's for the program finally to be cut to practically nothingness in the 1970's.
I. The Apollo Program:
Expenditures for the cost of the Apollo Program were in the total amount of $25.4 billion dollars. There were 11 manned Apollo flights, 381.7 kg of moon material was recovered during the course of the Apollo missions and although there are those who believe that the motivations for the Apollo missions were that of a "psycho-political" nature, the one gift that America and the world were given by the Apollo program was the realization of the reality of "how fragile the earth is."
At the time the Apollo program essentially caved in Boeing also was losing hope in the production of commercial aircraft as they had placed their hopes on the B747 and the price of producing the aircraft was much higher than originally predicted. Boeing had to let over 1/2 of the 80,000 it employed go in the Seattle operations alone. However, the B747 did finally enter into service in 1970. The Boeing 747 is "four-engine long-range airliner" and is said to have "changed the way of flying."
II. History of the Aircraft Industry in Brief:
The aircraft industry was the second largest employer in the United States after the automobile industry in the 1980's. Two studies were performed focusing on the loss of jobs in the United States during the years of the 1970's and 1980's. One looked at employment in manufacturing from 1972 to 1980 and the stated findings were that the economy had experienced a stagnation resulting in the 4.5% decline in manufacturing employment. Further that the demand for unskilled labor was down resulting in unemployment levels that ranged from 6% to 20% in all sectors of the manufacturing industry. Another stated factor voiced by Adrian Word an Economist from Sussex is that Third World exports are having a great affect and the problem is that "rationalism" is destroying jobs. The laborers in Third World countries will work for less hourly wages and will work longer hours. "Low-wage economics" had taken effect.
It appears that the multinational companies are not very active in the world trade markets and tend to keep production within a one-state area in a type of area specialization which keeps the whole product at a better overall value. It also appears that during this time Boeing was receiving thousands of foreign parts from approximately 160 different countries and furthermore was paying inflationary rates that were quiet simply exorbitantly outrageous prices. During this era the "price-gouging" of the airlines was in the news quite often and the knowledge that toilet seat for an aircraft ran in excess of $1,000 became common news.
II. Boeing's piece of the Space Pie
The Space Program is the never ending journey. When in the 1970's the creation of the first reusable spacecraft and as well the first capable of taxiing large satellites to and fro between earth and orbit the projected service time for the shuttle was projected to be a "life-time" of service or to be equal to 100 launches. The main purpose of the shuttle was the construction and service of the space stations. The realization of this purpose was fulfilled through the international space station presently in operation. Sadly, the shuttle did not have quite enough lifespan to follow the dream which was incidentally dashed against what must have been clouds of pure steel as Columbia caught fire on it's re-entrance into the earth's atmosphere killing each member of the culturally diverse crew in the Shuttles last flight. The Columbia's debris was scattered across many of the U.S. States as it blazed out in glory yet miserably in defeat.
III.Aviation Integration for Performance and Security:
In the beginning to the Shuttle program, Star Wars was President Reagan's pet project and government military spending was on the upward swing. The design of the Space Shuttle was said to be "radically different" than what NASA specifically needed but the Shuttle did meet the AF goals and was somewhat cheaper to fly. It has been stated that the regulation imposed by the Air Force is that which caused the craft to be so complex in design. One of the issues which affected the Shuttle was the inflationary environment of that time. Inflation was at the highest in recorded history which had the effect of driving cost up almost twice the original price.
However, taking into the account the aspects of inflationary effects the $500 million dollar ticket was still far too much in surpassing the original projection of $100 million. Even granting due consideration to the maintenance and servicing of aircraft the amount of $400 million dollars in difference from projected budget to actual budget is not explained. The design of the shuttle had four main components. The first component was the orbiter itself, which was reusable. Secondly there was an expendable external tank which loosened itself from the Shuttle exactly 8.5 minutes after take-off and at precisely 109 kilometers this external tank breaks loose and falls into the ocean where it remains unrecovered. This large external tanks attaches to fittings connecting it to two internal tanks one of which is at the forward of the shuttle and one at the aft. These two fuel tanks pump the fuel into the three main engines of the orbiter. The fuel in the pair of solid rocket boosters is a propellant composed of ammonium percolate which is an oxidizer that is 70% by weights and aluminum fuel 16% separated after laugh at 66 kilometers and recovered in the oceans as it is landed softly via a parachute. The shuttle's dimensions are as follows:
Space Shuttle: 184.2 feet tall
Orbiter: 122.17 feet long
Wingspan: 78.06 feet
Weight at lift off: 4.5 million pounds
Weight at the missions end: is 230,000 pounds
Maximum cargo to orbit: 63,500 pounds
Orbit: 115 to 400 statute miles
Shuttle velocity: 17,321 miles per hour.
While in the midst of war the different aircraft industry entities had pulled together and worked very well together collectively in the defense of the United States. However, the competitive nature of the industry was in full throttle during the days of Reagan's Star Wars Program. The original conception of the Space Shuttle was the design of an airliner type craft. After having landed the Orbiter would mate to its' system and within the span of approximately two weeks be prepared for another launch. At the time there were 25,000 workers in the Space Shuttle production, assembly, and design and operations employment. Numerous improvement have been made to the Shuttle however, the external design was never quite as it should have been which was painfully obvious with the descent of Columbia a couple of years ago.
The Space Shuttles final assembly took place at the Decatur, Alabama Boeing Plant on the Tennessee River where the shuttle was shipped in and out. A concrete driveway was poured to the docking area because the weight of the Shuttle would have cracked an asphalt paving.
IV. U.S. Trade in Commercial Aircraft and Parts (1970-2000)
During the 1970's and early 1980's Boeings production contracts on the B-52, the KC-135 and the Minutemen were all coming to an end. The word was for all salesmen to aggressively bid on new business and they did so underbidding contracts and even bidding and winning contracts that they did not have the specific know-how in making good the performance of. Boeings light helicopter deal at the time that of four different prototypes that are under a development contract in the amount of $2.8 billon. Production was to begin in 1996 and $220 million was already invested in the project.
The Chart bellows reflects the growth of ITT and can be traced to the competitive nature of the world air sector. Boeing and Airbus are mainly competitive in term of pricing, quality of product and reputation.
Commercial Airline Manufacturing:
During the late part of the 1970's Boeing Aerospace Corporation was studying concepts for a single stage rocket powered orbit vehicle that would use technology already existing. The project was called the name of "Reusable Aerospace Vehicle comprising a ground-based sled that would serve for acceleration of the aircraft to the speed needed for take-off on a conventional runway and a delta-winged piloted orbital vehicle. Called the RASV it was designed to be constructed of titanium and Rene-41, conventional refractory metals. The RASV would be powered by the main Space Shuttle Engines.
The project was an $11.4 billion project for build of a prototype vehicle. However, the USAF and Boeing funds that were allocated for the RASV ended up going to the development and redesigning of the B-2 Bomber. The RASV project was void and the Air Force was left to the mercy of the NASA Space Shuttle and the expendable rocket fleet.