HOUSTON — Boeing is turning to the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to support the training for and early flight operations of the company’s seven-person CST-100 entrant in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative.

Under the terms of a recent addition to their April 2011 CCDev-2 Space Act Agreement, Boeing intends to reach a larger pact with MOD later this year to provide launch-to-landing operations from the Mission Control Center (MCC) at Johnson for its first several flights. Boeing will reimburse NASA for the training and flight control services.

“Adding MOD to our team leverages NASA’s experience in crewed space operation to ensure mission success for our CST-100 spacecraft,” said Chris Ferguson, director of Crew and Mission Operations for Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program and a former shuttle commander, in a statement. “As we continue to mature our spacecraft design, MOD technical support will ensure the CST-100 is built with the operators in mind.” NASA’s MCC here has overseen all of the agency’s human spaceflight missions since the Gemini era.

Boeing is among four U.S. companies awarded a portion of $270 million in NASA CCDev-2 funding in April 2011. The capsule-shaped CST-100 is in competition for continued development support under a third round of Space Act Agreement funding. NASA plans to announce the participants in the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap), the third phase of the commercial crew initiative, in the July/August time frame.

NASA intends to nurture the development of at least two companies that can transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station by 2017, if the agency’s budget permits. The initiative is managed from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with support from Johnson.

If successful in its pursuit of CCiCap funding, Boeing will continue with its development of a flight training program and provide the instruction plan to MOD for training Boeing customers, which will primarily be NASA-led space station crews. Boeing would provide the overall supervision and retain responsibility for final training certification, according to a company spokeswoman.

NASA personnel would staff the Johnson MCC during the CST-100 launch-to-space station docking and undocking-to-landing phases of flight.

In addition, the company will establish a Boeing Mission Control Center at Kennedy and staff it with company personnel.

“While this facility can act in the capacity of a Mission Control Center for human spaceflight, Boeing will use the MOD/Houston MCC as the controlling entity for its first several flights,” the company says.

The reusable CST-100 is designed to carry a combination of passengers and cargo to multiple low-Earth-orbit destinations, including the planned Bigelow Aerospace orbital complex.

Boeing has targeted 2015 for the first test flight, with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V serving as the launch vehicle.