SpaceDev Selected to Participate in NASA Mars Sample Return Study - Boeing-led Team Charts Course for Future Mars Exploration

Press Release From: SpaceDev, Inc.
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2001

SpaceDev Inc., the world's first publicly-traded commercial space exploration and development company, today announced that it is part of a Boeing-led team that was awarded one of four $1 million contracts from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. to study options for a potential Mars sample return mission in 2011.

The contract runs from April through October.

``Selecting, collecting and returning samples from Mars is the most ambitious mission JPL has ever planned,'' said Program Manager Brent Sherwood of Boeing. ``We now know that the most important sampling locations are precisely the hardest to land near and operate robots within.''

Boeing has integrated a broad team of highly accomplished science, robot and space transportation architects and specialists, including a team of engineers and researchers from SpaceDev.

David B. Smith, SpaceDev vice president & chief technical officer and 30-year JPL veteran of several deep space missions is leading the architecture team. ``My recent experience as a member of the Mars architecture team at JPL will provide our Boeing team with insights into past, current and future methods and technologies that will help us create a unique, innovative and affordable Mars Sample Return architecture for input into the JPL planning process,'' said Smith.

Jim Benson, CEO of SpaceDev, commenting on the award said ``This world-class team of organizations and people that Boeing has assembled has the capability, experience, and know-how to tackle this very challenging and extremely exciting mission to return the first-ever samples from the Red Planet. Mars Sample Return is the 'Holy Grail' of space science, and as a geologist, I am very pleased that SpaceDev is involved in an early part of the mission.''

The Boeing-led team also includes: Dr. Ronald Greeley and his Mars science team from Arizona State University, Department of Geological Sciences; Dr. William (Red) Whittaker and his field robotics team at Carnegie Mellon University; Gordon R. Woodcock of Gray Research of Huntsville, Ala.; Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass.; The Aerospace Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.; and Dr. Ed Belbruno of Innovative Orbital Design of Princeton, N.J.

About SpaceDev

SpaceDev ( is currently designing inexpensive hybrid rocket-based orbital maneuvering and orbital transfer vehicles (MTVs) and secondary payload micro-kick motors for the Air Force. SpaceDev has recently performed design work for safe hybrid rocket-based manned or unmanned sub-orbital space planes. SpaceDev offers fixed-price package delivery for science instruments and technology demonstrations into earth orbit, to deep space and to other planetary bodies. SpaceDev designs and sells smaller, low-cost Earth-orbiting commercial and research satellites. SpaceDev's sale of these turnkey, fixed-price, commercial products is a leading innovation for the space industry.

Established in 1997, SpaceDev's corporate offices are located near San Diego in Poway. SpaceDev and The Boeing Company teamed earlier to investigate opportunities of mutual strategic interest in the commercial deep-space arena (

This news release may contain forward-looking statements concerning the company's business and future prospects and other similar statements that do not concern matters of historical fact. Forward-looking statements relating to product development, business prospects and development of a commercial market for technological advances are based on the company's current expectations. The company's current expectations are subject to all of the uncertainties and risks customarily associated with new business ventures including, but not limited to, market conditions, successful product development and acceptance, competition and overall economic conditions, as well as the risk of adverse regulatory actions. The company's actual results may differ materially from current expectations. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason. Contact: SpaceDev Inc.
Jim Benson, 858/375-2020

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