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NASA Awards Orion Launch Abort Test Facility Contract

Testing To Be Conducted At White Sands, NM

NASA's White Sands, NM Test Facility has selected Denco, Inc. of Las Cruces, NM to build launch site facilities for flight testing of the Orion Launch Abort System.

The competitive award is valued at $3.1 million. Under the terms of the contract, Denco will be responsible for the first work package of the Project Orion Abort Flight Test Launch Facility.

The package covers construction of a 120-by-160-foot final integration and test facility building and surrounding site improvements and infrastructure. Groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-November.

Orion is the crew exploration vehicle that NASA's Constellation Program is developing to service the International Space Station and carry humans to the moon in the next decade. The flight tests at the White Sands Test Facility will support certification of Orion's launch abort system, an escape rocket designed to ensure the safety of the crew in the event of a rocket malfunction on the launch pad or during ascent.

The Abort Flight Test Launch Facility will be located at Launch Complex 32 on the US Army's White Sands Missile Range. It will support the Pad Abort 1 test mission from this facility in fall 2008 and additional ascent abort flights starting in fall 2009 and extending through 2011.

The White Sands Test Facility is operated by NASA's Johnson Space Center at the missile range. The launch abort tests are managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

FMI: www.nasa.gov/constellation/, www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden

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