The Boeing Company (pronounced /ˈboʊ.ɪŋ/BOH-ing) (NYSE: BA) is an American multinationalaerospace and defense corporation. Founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington, the company has expanded over the years, and merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, Illinois, in 2001. Boeing is made up of multiple business units, which are Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA); Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS); Engineering, Operations & Technology; Boeing Capital; and Boeing Shared Services Group.
Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers, and the second largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world based on defense-related revenue from 2011. The company is the largest exporter by value in the U.S., and its stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The Space Shuttle was a crewed, partially reusable low Earth orbitalspacecraft operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Its official program name was Space Transportation System, taken from a 1969 plan for a system of reusable spacecraft of which it was the only item to be funded for development. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981, leading to operational flights beginning in 1982. It was used on a total of 135 missions from 1981 to 2011, all launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Major missions included launching numerous satellites, interplanetary probes, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), conducting space science experiments, and constructing and servicing the International Space Station. Major components included the orbiters, recoverable boosters, external tanks, payloads, and supporting infrastructure. Five space-worthy orbiters were built; two were lost in mission accidents, killing fourteen astronauts.
The Space Shuttle at launch consisted of the Orbiter Vehicle (OV), one external tank (ET), and two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). It was launched vertically like a conventional rocket with thrust from the two SRBs and three main engines. During launch, the external tank provided fuel for the orbiter's main engines. The SRBs and ET were jettisoned before the orbiter reached orbit. At the conclusion of the orbiter's space mission, it fired its thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enter the lower atmosphere. The orbiter decelerated in the atmosphere before flying like a glider but with reaction control system thrusters before landing on a long runway. Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour were the space-capable orbiters that were built.