Press Release

NASA Awards $135 Million to Continue Space Launch Initiative Work

By SpaceRef Editor
April 4, 2003
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NASA today announced approximately $135 million dollars
will be awarded to three competing contractor teams to
continue support of NASA’s Orbital Space Plane program under
the Space Launch Initiative to provide crew rescue and
transfer capabilities to the International Space Station.

The awards are a part of a contract modification of a Cycle 1
Space Launch Initiative solicitation originally awarded in
May 2001. This modification extends existing contracts
through July 2004.

The Orbital Space Plane program will provide the capability
for crew rescue by 2010 and the capability for crews to
transfer to and from the International Space Station by 2012.

The three system design contractor teams — The Boeing
Company of Seal Beach, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Corp. of
Denver; and a team including Orbital Sciences Corp. of
Dulles, Va., and Northrop Grumman of El Segundo, Calif. —
will each receive approximately $45 million to design
potential candidates for the system, including the Orbital
Space Plane vehicle or vehicles, ground operations and all
supporting technologies needed to conduct a mission to and
from the Space Station.

The contract modification includes work to develop system
specifications, including systems analysis, trade studies and
concept feasibility in preparation for NASA’s Orbital Space
Plane Program’s Systems Requirements Review. The review,
scheduled for October 2003, will evaluate the concept design
based on the Level 1 requirements — guidelines that lay out
the foundation and top-level needs of the system. The review
will also set Level 2 requirements that will further narrow
the scope of the system design, including requirements for
crew safety, cost, and interfacing with launch vehicles and
the Space Station.

Once the Systems Requirements Review is complete, the
contractors will begin work on the next phase, which includes
trade studies, development of a conceptual design that meets
Level 2 requirements and supporting analysis leading to
NASA’s Systems Design Review, scheduled for April 2004. The
Systems Design Review is a NASA-led review to validate the
Level 2 requirements and determine Level 3 requirements to
more precisely define the needs and specifications of the
system. A full-scale development decision by NASA is expected
in the fall of 2004.

The Orbital Space Plane program supports U.S. International
Space Station requirements for crew rescue, crew transport,
and contingency cargo such as supplies, food and other needed
equipment. The system will initially launch on an expendable
launch vehicle to provide rescue capability for no fewer than
four Space Station crew members as soon as practical — but
no later than 2010. It will also provide transportation
capability for no fewer than four crew members to and from
the Space Station as soon as practical — but no later than

For more information on the Orbital Space Plane, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.