NASA Awards Contracts In Next Step Toward Safely Launching American Astronauts From U.S. Soil

NASA Awards Contracts In Next Step Toward Safely Launching American Astronauts
                                From U.S. Soil

PR Newswire

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec. 10, 2012

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA announced
Monday the next step in its plan to launch American astronauts from U.S. soil,
selecting three companies to conduct activities under contracts that will
enable future certification of commercial spacecraft as safe to carry humans
to the International Space Station.

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Advances made by these American companies during the first contract phase
known as the certification products contracts (CPC) will begin the process of
ensuring integrated crew transportation systems will meet agency safety
requirements and standards to launch American astronauts to the International
Space Station from the United States, ending the agency's reliance on Russia
for these transportation services. The second phase of certification will
result in a separately competed contract.

CPC contractors are:

-- The Boeing Company, Houston, $9,993,000

-- Sierra Nevada Corporation Space System, Louisville, Colo., $10,000,000

-- Space Exploration technologies Corp., Hawthorne, Calif., $9,589,525

"These contracts represent important progress in restoring human spaceflight
capabilities to the United States," said Phil McAlister, director of the
Commercial Spaceflight Development Division at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "NASA and its industry partners are committed to the goal of
safely and cost-effectively launching astronauts from home within the next
five years."

During the Phase 1 CPC contracts, from Jan. 22, 2013 through May 30, 2014, the
companies will work with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) to discuss and
develop products to implement the agency's flight safety and performance
requirements. This includes implementation across all aspects of the space
system, including the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission
operations.

Under the contract, a certification plan will be developed to achieve safe,
crewed missions to the space station. This includes data that will result in
developing engineering standards, tests and analyses of the crew
transportation systems design.

"I congratulate the three companies for their selection," said Ed Mango, CCP
manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "This is the program's
first major, fixed-price contract. The effort will bring space system designs
within NASA's safety and performance expectations for future flights to the
International Space Station."

The second phase of the certification contract, expected to begin in mid-2014,
will involve a full and open competition. It will include the final
development, testing and verifications necessary to allow crewed demonstration
flights to the space station.

NASA is facilitating the development of U.S. commercial crew space
transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and
cost-effective access to and from low-Earth orbit for potential future
government and commercial customers.

While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop these capabilities,
the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System
(SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new
capability for human exploration. Designed to be flexible for launching
spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human
presence beyond low-Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration in the
solar system.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

SOURCE NASA

Website: http://www.nasa.gov
Contact: Trent J. Perrotto, Headquarters, Washington, +1-202-358-1100,
trent.j.perrotto@nasa.gov; Candrea Thomas, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.,
+1-321-867-2468, candrea.k.thomas@nasa.gov