RELEASE: 02-193
July 2002 Space Launch Initiative

Here’s what’s new in technology development in the Space Launch Initiative.

Propulsion Office studies next generation rocket boosters requiring powered
flyback capabilities.

The Space Launch Initiative’s Propulsion Office recently began a
study to determine jet engine requirements to power several flyback booster
concepts for a second generation reusable launch vehicle.

The Propulsion Office, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Ala., in collaboration with the agency’s Glenn
Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, kicked off the study to assess military
and commercial jet engines that could power a reusable booster. Together
with industry partners General Electric of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Pratt &
Whitney of East Hartford, Conn., NASA is considering several engine options.

Currently, the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters are parachuted into the
sea and retrieved for reuse after providing thrust to the Space Shuttle. The
Space Launch Initiative is considering vehicle concepts that would fly first
stage boosters back to a designated landing site after separation from the
orbital vehicle. These flyback boosters would be powered by jet engines
once the booster rocket engines have shutdown and have been separated from
the orbital vehicle.

The powered flyback booster would include several jet engines integrated
into the booster capable of providing over 100,000 pounds of thrust. The
booster would land on a designated runway shortly after launch.

The study will determine the requirements for the engines and identify risk
mitigation activities — how the engine requirements impact current engine
designs and how to address risk issues, as well as identify costs associated
with risk mitigation and jet engine development and production. The study
also will result in candidate jet engine options to pursue for a flyback

For more information, please contact Sally Harrington at the Glenn Community
and Media Relations Office at (216) 433-2037 or by e-mail at or June Malone at the Marshall Media
Relations Department at (256) 544-0034 or by e-mail at

For additional news and information on the Space Launch Initiative, please
see these recent news releases:
* Detroit native Charles Smith helping to develop NASA’s next generation
reusable launch vehicle; 7/15/02; available at

* NASA awards contracts to investigate commercial services to supply
International Space Station; 7/12/02; available at

* Diagnostic software to keep vehicles healthy, safer; 6/17/02; available at

* COBRA, engine option for Space Launch Initiative Propulsion, completes
review; 6/14/02; available at

Note to Editors/News Directors:The Space Launch Initiative Media Update is a
regular progress report to keep you informed about the technology
development activities of the program. Interviews and photos supporting the
Space Launch Initiative are available to news media representatives by
contacting June Malone at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256)
544-0034. For additional news and information, please visit the Space
Launch Initiative on the Web at: or

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June Malone
Media Relations Department
(256) 544-0034