WASHINGTON – Friday NASA issued a request for proposal for the Ares I launch vehicle upper stage element. Ares I is the launch vehicle that will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle and its crew and cargo to low Earth orbit. The upper stage proposals are due to Marshall Space Flight Center no later than 1 p.m. CST April 13, 2007.

The request for proposal states the procurement approach for obtaining the upper stage element. The selected contractor will produce the required Ares I upper stage and provide support to a NASA-led design team during the design phase. The contract will provide for the manufacture and assembly of test articles, flight test units, and the operational upper stage elements to support NASA’s flight manifest through 2016. Final manufacturing and assembly will take place at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana.

The Ares I upper stage, with a separately procured upper stage engine and a separately procured instrument ring, will provide the navigation, guidance, control and propulsion required for the second stage of the Ares I ascent. The first stage will consist of a single reusable solid rocket booster and motor similar to those used on the space shuttle but with a fifth motor segment attached.

The contract to manufacture and assemble the Ares I upper stage element will be awarded through a full and open competition and managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. A selection will be made in August 2007.

For more information about the draft request for proposal on the Web, visit:


For information about NASA’s Ares Projects on the Web, visit: