NASA Taps 13 Companies For Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle Study
[Satellite TODAY 11-10-10] NASA selected 13 companies for potential contract awards that begin work on the agencies efforts to develop a next-generation heavy-lift launch vehicle, NASA announced Nov. 8.
The awards will be valued at a total of about $7.5 million, with a maximum individual contract award of $625,000. Each company will conduct systems analysis and trade studies for evaluating system concepts, propulsion technologies and affordability. The studies will include heritage systems as well as alternative architectures and identify propulsion technology gaps, including main propulsion elements, propellant tanks and rocket health management systems. The reports will include assessments of various heavy-lift launch vehicle and in-space vehicle that use different propulsion combinations.
The selected companies are: Aerojet General Corp., Analytical Mechanics Associates, Andrews Space, Alliant Techsystems, Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Orbital Sciences Corp., Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Science Applications International Corp., SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and United Space Alliance.
"These trade studies will provide a look at innovative launch vehicle concepts, propulsion technologies and processes that should make human exploration missions more affordable," Doug Cooke, associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, said in a statement. "If we are to travel beyond low-Earth orbit, industry’s collaboration is essential to reduce the cost associated with our future exploration goals and approaches and make the heavy-lift vehicle affordable to build and fly."
NASA will use the recommendations to evaluate heavy-lift launch vehicle concepts and propulsion technologies for a transportation system intended to launch humans to destinations such as the moon, Mars, asteroids and Lagrange points, the agency said.