James Cast Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1779

)

July 25, 1996

June Malone Marshall Space Flight Center, Hunstville, AL (Phone: 205/544-0034) RELEASE: 96-146 NINE COMPANIES TO DEMONSTRATE SMALL, LOW COST LAUNCH SYSTEM TECHNOLOGIES NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, has selected 15 proposals for negotiation leading to possible contract award for its Low Cost Boost Technology Project. NASA is looking for innovative launch system technologies that could significantly reduce the cost of launching payloads to orbit. The selected companies proposed to use current technology to develop propellant delivery systems, tanks, pressurization and pneumatic systems, associated structures, electronics and an engine. The goal of the project is to identify off-the-shelf technologies and demonstrate their use for a launch system that will be capable of lifting approximately 500 pounds to orbit for about one million dollars. "We want to tap into existing technologies and common methods of manufacturing that are often available from companies not typically associated with traditional aerospace industry," according to Danny Davis, manager of the Low Cost Boost Technology Project, which is managed by Marshall's Advanced Space Transportation Program Office. By using manufacturing processes and technologies that are already in place, the cost of developing a propulsion system and transporting payloads to orbit may be greatly reduced. While cutting the cost of small Earth-to-orbit transportation systems, the products of the technology project also may provide test beds for the next reusable

launch vehicles or for the evolution of existing vehicles. "We look forward to demonstrating these ideas in ground tests by early 1998 which will support a planned technology demonstration flight in mid-1999," said Davis. "Ultimately, we want to enable development of a low-cost commercial launch system with minimal investment costs," said Davis. This activity is part of NASA's initiative to explore space transportation technologies for the future. The Advanced Space Transportation program managed at Marshall focuses on technological advances --not addressed by the Reusable Launch Vehicle program-- that have the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space. NASA has selected proposals for negotiation from Campbell Engineering; Dean Applied Technology Co.; Lockheed Martin Astronautics; Phase IV Systems, Inc., of Huntsville, AL; Pratt & Whitney, West Palm Beach, FL; Rockwell/Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, CA; and Thiokol Corporation, Brigham City, UT. The total available funding for contracts for 1996 and 1997 is approximately $9.5 million. - end NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to domo@hq.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the command GO NASA.