NASA today announced an additional $94.6 million in
contract awards to advance the agency’s Space Launch
Initiative (SLI) — a research and development effort to
develop the technologies needed to build a second-generation
reusable launch vehicle, as well as to design vehicle
architectures for 21st century missions.

These awards represent the final round of competitive
selections under cycle one of the NASA Research Announcement
(NRA) for NASA’s Space Launch Initiative issued in October

NASA’s Space Launch Initiative made its first round of
contract awards — valued at $791 million — in May to 22
prime contractors. A new round of competitive proposals
should be received in March 2002 under cycle two of the NASA
Research Announcement.

Today, NASA selected Northrop Grumman in El Segundo, Calif.,
and Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, Va., to receive a
combined increase of $20.7 million. The two companies will
team to provide systems engineering and architecture
definition for NASA’s Second Generation Reusable Launch
Vehicle program, which manages the SLI, laying groundwork for
greater access to space for civil exploration, as well as
potential defense and commercial applications.

Of the new award, Northrop Grumman will receive $15.7 million
and Orbital Sciences Corp. will receive $4.9 million. The two
contracts hold a renewal option upon successful completion of
a review in March 2002.

An additional award of $5.4 million is being made to the
Boeing Company in Seal Beach, Calif., to initiate studies in
crew-survivability and crew-escape systems technologies, a
project unique to NASA. A primary goal of SLI is to reduce
the risk of space travel — making flight much safer than
today’s reusable launch system.

Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power, a division of the Boeing
Company, located in Canoga Park, Calif., and TRW in Redondo
Beach, Calif., have also been awarded options for existing
contracts for potential continued work on advanced propulsion
systems. Rocketdyne could receive an additional $63.0
million; TRW could receive $5.4 million.

The activities initiated by these awards are not intended to
provide a specific vehicle design, but are the first step in
developing a set of alternative technologies for a new
generation of launch systems and associated space
transportation operations. These evolutionary technologies
include crew survival systems, advanced tanks and airframe
structures, long-life rocket engines and robust thermal
protection systems.

The SLI investment is expected to pay off with full-scale
spacecraft development options around mid-decade.

NASA is investing money and other resources in technical and
business studies, hardware development, and laboratory and
flight tests that will lower the risk of developing a second-
generation reusable launch vehicle.

“Right now we are bringing together teams of experts who can
help us expand from our baseline. We need to make sure we
identify areas that merit additional research and development
and pursue those,” said Dennis Smith, manager of NASA’s
Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle program. “Improving
access to space is an ambitious goal and we take it
seriously. Sharply reducing the cost of getting payloads into
orbit is the key to our future in space and to U.S. economic

The planned budget for the Space Launch Initiative totals
$4.8 billion through fiscal year 2006.

All NASA’s field centers and the Air Force Research
Laboratory are actively participating in the Space Launch
Initiative. The Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville,
Ala., is NASA’s lead center for SLI.

Additional information on NASA’s Space Launch Initiative,
including a list of the selected contractors, is available on
the Internet at: