Jim Cast Headquarters, Washington, DC March 29, 1995 (Phone: 202/358-1779) Dom Amatore Marshall Space Flight Center, AL (Phone: 205/544-6533) Release: 95-38
NASA continues on a fast track with its Reusable Launch Vehicle technology program with the signing of three cooperative agreements to design the next generation space booster known as the "X-33."
"The procurement process on the X-33 exemplifies the new way of doing business at NASA," said Administrator Daniel S. Goldin. "The announcement of the competition and the selection of the winners took a matter of weeks, not years. The structure of the agreements puts the focus squarely on a true public/private partnership, and on outstanding industry performance. This is a critical step in positioning the United States as a competitive player in the commercial space marketplace of the future," Goldin said
The X-33 Cooperative Agreements were signed with Lockheed Advanced Development Co., Palmdale, CA; McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, Huntington Beach, CA; and Rockwell International Corporation, Space Systems Division, Downey, CA. Over the next 15 months, known as "Phase I," the Agency will work with these companies on concept definition and design of the X-33, a vehicle intended to demonstrate the technology required for a 21st-Century commercial reusable space launch system.
NASA will provide approximately $7 million to each of the three participants during this design phase, with each expected to invest a matching sum in the venture.
The goal of the Reusable Launch Vehicle technology program is to enable significant reductions in the cost of access to space, and to promote the creation and delivery of new space services and other activities that will improve U.S. economic competitiveness. The program will implement the National Space Transportation Policy, issued by the White House in 1994, and will accelerate the development of new launch technologies and concepts to contribute to the continuing commercialization of the national space launch industry.
During the 15-month design phase, each firm will develop its total X-33 business investment strategies, operations planning and vehicle design and analysis. If the government then decides to proceed to the next phase -- construction and flight demonstration the X-33 -- NASA would competitively select one or more of the firms as its industry partner(s) in that effort. The program could continue through the end of the decade and could lead to a decision by government and industry to develop an operational reusable launch system. As part of each design team, government laboratories will participate with industry members to apply the technology developed in the labs toward this next-generation launch system.
NASA's Office of Space Access and Technology, Washington, DC, manages the Reusable Launch Vehicle technology program. The Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, is the host center for the X-33 program.
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