Feb. 16, 2007
Beth Dickey/J. D. Harrington
Johnson Space Center, Houston
NASA COMMERCIAL SPACE PARTNERS COMPLETE MILESTONES
HOUSTON - Two companies that are receiving NASA Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services funds achieved significant milestones this
month in their efforts to develop and demonstrate space cargo launch
and delivery systems.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed a preliminary design
review for its first orbital demonstration mission. Rocketplane
Kistler completed a system requirements review for its cargo services
system. The two companies want to offer commercial delivery services
for cargo, and possibly crews, to the International Space Station in
the future. In August 2006, NASA and the companies signed Space Act
Agreements that established a series of milestones and criteria for
assessing progress toward their individual goals.
“These milestones demonstrate genuine progress toward a new way of
doing business for NASA and pave the way for the commercial purchase
of transportation services needed to maintain the International Space
Station,” said Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of the Commercial Crew and
Cargo Program Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. “If
these companies can continue this rapid pace, the first demonstration
launches are right around the corner.”
On Feb. 8 SpaceX, of El Segundo, Calif., received NASA approval of a
preliminary design review for the first orbital demonstration of its
Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon reusable spacecraft. That flight, planned
for September 2008, will be the first of three outlined in NASA’s
agreement with SpaceX. The company completed a project management
review for the mission in September 2006 and a system requirements
review in November 2006. SpaceX delivered its preliminary design
review data to NASA Jan. 22. The critical design review is set for
On Feb. 6, Rocketplane Kistler of Oklahoma City established the
requirements for interfaces between its two-stage K-1 reusable cargo
transportation system and the International Space Station. The
requirements review was the third of numerous milestones NASA will
use to measure the company’s progress toward a full demonstration of
its launch capability. Both the first and second stages completed
critical design reviews before Rocketplane Kistler joined the
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Project. Those vehicle
components are being transported to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility
in New Orleans to begin the assembly phase.
Rocketplane Kistler achieved its first two program milestones,
completion of a program implementation plan and an initial round of
private financing, in September and November 2006, respectively.
Preliminary and critical design reviews of a new cargo module are
planned later this year.
SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler both won a 2006 competition to share up
to $485 million in NASA funding to help finance their activities.
Earlier in February, NASA signed unfunded agreements to work with two
other companies with similar goals - Transformational Space Corp.
(t/Space) of Reston, Va., and PlanetSpace Inc. of Chicago.
The overarching goals of NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program are
to stimulate commercial enterprises in space; facilitate U.S. private
industry development of reliable, cost-effective access to low-Earth
orbit; and create a market environment in which commercial space
transportation services are available to government and private
Once industry has demonstrated safe and reliable capabilities, NASA
may choose to purchase transportation services from commercial
providers to support the International Space Station under a second
phase of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Project.
For more information on NASA on the Web, visit: