Boeing and Rosie the Riveter medallions
As a proud American, it saddens me to see how badly the top management of Boeing has turned a once proud company into a comedians punchline. They have been living so long on the US payroll, and have such strong lobbying capability, that they have forgotten how to compete at the market level. Just look at the 737 MAX, where Boeing allegedly got special consideration from the FAA for signing off on the plane, which led to two deadly accidents. I am quite sure the engineers and middle management of Boeing are still as strong as they have ever been, and I hope the upper management has been cleaned out.
Boeing was one of two companies picked by NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The CCP started in 2011, with the two finalists picked on 9/16/14. The other company was SpaceX. Each company, after one crewed testing flight was to provide 6 operational flights. Boeing received $4.2 billion and SpaceX received $2.6 billion. The name of the Boeing spacecraft is the CST-100, or Starliner. The name of the SpaceX spacecraft is Dragon 2 or Crewed Dragon.
Unfortunately, due to its incompetence, Boeing has lost the possibility of actually providing true commercial spaceflight capabilities to the USA and the World. Given its significantly higher price tag for CST-100 flights, Boeing can not compete with SpaceX in the commercial spaceflight field. Boeing has already recognized this by only producing two CST-100 capsules, as opposed to its original plans of producing three. The capsule can be reused up to 10 times, but needs six months of refurbishment between flights. Given that each flight to the ISS will take six months, this means no true commercial opportunities. Further, if Boeing loses one capsule in flight, their program might well be canceled.
Boeing, even given its 61.5% HIGHER price tag than SpaceX, has managed to foul it up badly. Its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 1 (OFT-1) in December 2019 was a near disaster. The CST-100's software was badly off in several different phases of flight. The spacecraft didn't even make it to the ISS, and almost had a disaster during reentry. This was on top of the Pad Abort Test (basically rocketing a capsule 1 mile up from a launch pad) in November 2019, when some tech hadn't even attached one of the 3 parachutes properly, so only two of the three main parachutes deployed. Boeing was ordered to complete a second OFT, which as of today, 6/17/21, it still hasn't completed.
To put things in perspective, SpaceX, as of today, has already launched 3 crewed Dragons, which include two Operational flights to the ISS. Further it is already training crews for two more operational NASA missions, as well as having two TRUE commercial, e.g. private, missions scheduled to lift off in the next 6 - 9 months.
Boeing, in its upcoming OFT-2 of the CST-100 Starliner (currently scheduled 7/30/21), will be including some Rosie the Riveter medallions in the payload. The medallions are to be handed out after the successful return of the capsule.
On the obverse, around the periphery the medallion states; Rosie the Riveter, We Can Do It. In the center is an image of Rosie the Riveter flexing her arm muscles. On the reverse, its a little harder to make out, but I believe around the periphery are Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. In the center is the Boeing logo with (below that); Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future, and below that an image of a divider.
Trust, once lost, is hard to rebuild. I hope Boeing can return to its proud roots...