ARLINGTON, VA. – The Space Transportation Association today strongly endorsed development of a joint operations vehicle by NASA and the United States Air Force to test reusable launch vehicle technology. “We believe that a new, integrated technology plan between NASA and the Air Force will help spur the development of a second generation reusable launcher,” said STA President Frank Sietzen, Jr. “A fully reusable vehicle would have a significant role in both military space applications as well as civil human spaceflight missions,” Sietzen added.

STA also hailed NASA Administrator Sean OÕKeefeÕs pledge that such an RLV support U.S. commercial launch leadership. “A combined NASA-USAF RLV development program, if fully funded by both agencies, could serve to increase the strength of the U.S. commercial space industry while increasing access to space by lowering costs and increased flexibility,” Sietzen said.

STA calls for the development of a U.S. reusable and expendable launch architecture that sets out a common technology development plan, concept of operations, and a set of common configurations that could have maximum flexibility in meeting civil, military, and commercial spacelift requirements during the next decades.

“We at STA welcome the Air ForceÕs acknowledgement of their important role in the development of a new reusable launch vehicle, and the addition of the Air Force in the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program. No national vehicle can or should be developed without factoring in military needs, mission models, and rapid launch capabilities for national security,” said Sietzen. “In fact, the rapid access to space typified by military launch needs could have a direct bearing on future follow-on vehicles that could have commercial cargo or space passenger-carrying capabilities,” Sietzen added.

The Space Transportation Association is an Arlington, Virginia-based trade organization whose primary goal is to increase U.S. access to space. The organization believes that such access can be assured by the continued development of safe, affordable and reliable U.S. space launch systems and a strong U.S. space transportation industry.

For Additional information Contact: Frank Sietzen, Jr. 703-685-7090