SpaceDev Inc., the world’s first publicly-traded commercial space
exploration and development company, today announced that it is part
of a Boeing-led team that was awarded one of four $1 million contracts
from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. to study
options for a potential Mars sample return mission in 2011.

The contract runs from April through October.

“Selecting, collecting and returning samples from Mars is the most
ambitious mission JPL has ever planned,” said Program Manager Brent
Sherwood of Boeing. “We now know that the most important sampling
locations are precisely the hardest to land near and operate robots

Boeing has integrated a broad team of highly
accomplished science, robot and space transportation architects and
specialists, including a team of engineers and researchers from

David B. Smith, SpaceDev vice president & chief technical officer
and 30-year JPL veteran of several deep space missions is leading the
architecture team. “My recent experience as a member of the Mars
architecture team at JPL will provide our Boeing team with insights
into past, current and future methods and technologies that will help
us create a unique, innovative and affordable Mars Sample Return
architecture for input into the JPL planning process,” said Smith.

Jim Benson, CEO of SpaceDev, commenting on the award said “This
world-class team of organizations and people that Boeing has assembled
has the capability, experience, and know-how to tackle this very
challenging and extremely exciting mission to return the first-ever
samples from the Red Planet. Mars Sample Return is the ‘Holy Grail’ of
space science, and as a geologist, I am very pleased that SpaceDev is
involved in an early part of the mission.”

The Boeing-led team also includes: Dr. Ronald Greeley and his Mars
science team from Arizona State University, Department of Geological
Sciences; Dr. William (Red) Whittaker and his field robotics team at
Carnegie Mellon University; Gordon R. Woodcock of Gray Research of
Huntsville, Ala.; Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass.; The Aerospace
Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.; and Dr. Ed Belbruno of Innovative Orbital
Design of Princeton, N.J.

About SpaceDev

SpaceDev ( is currently designing inexpensive
hybrid rocket-based orbital maneuvering and orbital transfer vehicles
(MTVs) and secondary payload micro-kick motors for the Air Force.
SpaceDev has recently performed design work for safe hybrid
rocket-based manned or unmanned sub-orbital space planes. SpaceDev
offers fixed-price package delivery for science instruments and
technology demonstrations into earth orbit, to deep space and to other
planetary bodies. SpaceDev designs and sells smaller, low-cost
Earth-orbiting commercial and research satellites. SpaceDev’s sale of
these turnkey, fixed-price, commercial products is a leading
innovation for the space industry.

Established in 1997, SpaceDev’s corporate offices are located near
San Diego in Poway. SpaceDev and The Boeing Company teamed earlier to
investigate opportunities of mutual strategic interest in the
commercial deep-space arena

This news release may contain forward-looking statements
concerning the company’s business and future prospects and other
similar statements that do not concern matters of historical fact.
Forward-looking statements relating to product development, business
prospects and development of a commercial market for technological
advances are based on the company’s current expectations. The
company’s current expectations are subject to all of the uncertainties
and risks customarily associated with new business ventures including,
but not limited to, market conditions, successful product development
and acceptance, competition and overall economic conditions, as well
as the risk of adverse regulatory actions. The company’s actual
results may differ materially from current expectations. Readers are
cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The
company disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly these
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or for any other reason.

Contact: SpaceDev Inc.
Jim Benson, 858/375-2020