Donald Savage Headquarters, Washington (Phone: 202/358-1547) RELEASE: C02-hh

Nov. 26, 2002

NASA AWARDS JPL CONTRACT NASA completed negotiation of a new cost-plus award fee contract to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the operation of the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. The contract will run five years and have a value of approximately $8 billion. The contract extends the JPL agreement beyond the current expiration date of Sept. 30, 2003. The contract includes a new award-term provision that, based on performance reviews, may extend the contract period of performance for up to an additional five years. Consistent with the agency's "One NASA" initiative, the new contract will more closely align JPL's policies and procedures with those of other NASA centers. "The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a national treasure with an amazing record of successes unmatched in the world. This new contract gives NASA much improved capabilities and management tools and provides powerful incentives for JPL," said Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "I think this is good news for NASA, JPL, Caltech, and the American people who benefit from the unbelievable work done at JPL." JPL, NASA's only federally funded research and development center, conducts research expanding human understanding of the Earth, the Sun, solar system, stars, planetary systems, galaxies and the formation and evolution of the Universe. JPL also manages NASA's Mars Exploration Program, which is operating two spacecraft orbiting the red planet and planning a series of ambitious missions over the next decade, including twin rovers scheduled for launch next year. JPL's other responsibilities include support to NASA's applications, space science, Earth science and other highvalue science programs.

JPL uses instrument observations from space vehicles as the primary tools for planetary exploration, investigations and science programs. These missions are supported by groundbased research and laboratory experiments. Earth sciences include research into interactions of our planet's oceans, atmosphere, continents and the effects of solar energy in order to gain an integrated understanding of the total Earth system. The new contract provides JPL and Caltech with greater clarity in their relationship with NASA and other government agencies. It focuses JPL on its core mission with incentives for performance and returns full management to JPL of the Deep Space Network, which communicates with interplanetary spacecraft. The management change will assure greater reliability for the network and more management clarity. In addition, JPL now has the ability to review and comment directly on NASA policies that affect their performance thus improving JPL's ability to accomplish its missions and providing NASA with advice on the impacts of new policies. - end -