The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to congratulate two of its member companies, Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems, for winning an initial NASA test flight contract as part of the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) Program. The first round of the program, an open competition for small businesses, was formally kicked off by NASA earlier this year with a Request for Quotations for commercial reusable suborbital flight services.

As part of the CRuSR awards, Armadillo Aerospace will perform three flights of their Super-Mod vehicle and Masten Space Systems will perform four flights of their Xaero vehicle, during fall and winter 2010. These flights “will allow the two companies to perform test flights of their experimental vehicles near the edge of space,” according to NASA.

“As strong advocates for the CRuSR program, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation could not be more pleased to see the program move from concept to first test flights in such a short time period,” said Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. “It was only six months ago that the Commercial Spaceflight Federation co-organized a science conference at which nearly 300 researchers and educators learned about the potential of the new commercial suborbital vehicles being built by Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace, and we are pleased to see that NASA has responded to this interest.”

“We congratulate Masten and Armadillo on being selected for initial test flights and look forward to future rounds of CRuSR selections. It will be truly exciting to see all the opportunities for low-cost science, education, and research that these commercial suborbital vehicles will enable,” added Alexander.

NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun, whose Space Technology Program will host the CRuSR Office starting in Fiscal Year 2011, stated in a NASA press release that, “These two awards are just the beginning of an innovative teaming relationship with industry to provide affordable access to the edge of space while evaluating the microgravity environment for future science and technology experiments,” and added, “CRuSR represents the sort of government-commercial partnership that will facilitate near-space access at affordable costs.”