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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NASA Signs Launch Agreement with SpaceX

SpaceX and NASA has signed an agreement to allow the low cost rocket provider to compete for science and exploration missions. The contract could be worth up to $1 billion.

Press Release:

WASHINGTON -- NASA has awarded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, a NASA Launch Services contract for the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles.

The NASA Launch Services contracts are multiple awards to multiple launch service providers. Twice per year, there is an opportunity for existing and emerging domestic launch service providers to submit proposals if their vehicles meet the minimum contract requirements.
The contract is an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract where NASA may order launch services through June 30, 2010, for launches to occur through December 2012. Under the NASA Launch Services IDIQ contracts, the potential total contract value is between $20,000 and $1 billion, depending on the number of missions awarded.

The contract seeks a launch capability for payloads weighing 551 pounds or heavier into a circular orbit of 124 miles at an orbital inclination of 28.5 degrees. Payloads would be launched to support three NASA mission directorates: Science, Space Operations and Exploration Systems.
Because an IDIQ contract has been awarded to SpaceX, it can compete for NASA missions using the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles as specified by the NASA Launch Services contract process.

NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for program management. This award to SpaceX adds to the stable of launch vehicles available to NASA under previously awarded contracts. The original request for proposal was issued in 1999.
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