Jim Cast Headquarters, Washington, DC April 6, 1995 (Phone: 202/358-1779) Jim Sahli Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (Phone: 301/286-0697) RELEASE: 95-44
NASA has signed a contract with EER Systems Corp. of Vienna, VA, to provide on-orbit data and experiment recovery services during a mission this summer, using enhanced components from a previous program concept known as "COMET." The contract is written on a firm fixed-price basis for a total of $14 million and for a period lasting approximately one year.
The primary objective of this mission is to support NASA's ongoing space activities by providing increased access to space for microgravity experiments originally envisioned for the COMET program. NASA hopes this effort will demonstrate an unmanned commercial space system capable of flying and recovering small research and commercial payloads which require longer exposure to the microgravity environment than is possible aboard the Space Shuttle.
EER will be performing this work both at its facilities at Seabrook, MD, and at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA.
Launch from Wallops is expected to take place in late July 1995 aboard a Conestoga launch vehicle. The microgravity experiments -- half sponsored by NASA and half sponsored by private industry -- will be housed in two payload modules: a service module, which is expected to transmit science information from low-Earth orbit for about a year; and a recovery module, which is expected to remain in orbit for approximately a month, then return to a water landing near the Virginia launch site. The experiment complement cuts across a variety of research disciplines and will include navigational aids, communications packages, ultraviolet and remote sensing instruments, materials exposure to space experiments, new spacecraft technology demonstrations and plant and crystal growth.
The contract is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center for the Office of Space Access and Technology at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.
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