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Sat, Dec 17, 2011

NASA Issues Fourth Commercial Partners Progress Document

Agency Releases A Non-Technical Status Report Every 60 Days

NASA released the fourth in a series of 60-day reports today showing that commercial spaceflight development programs are moving forward. The agency’s U.S. industry partners continue to make progress in developing a transportation system to ferry cargo and U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. The development of industry systems will allow NASA to concentrate its resources on deep space exploration.

The latest status report highlights the progress and accomplishments for the agency's commercial spaceflight development efforts. The bi-monthly report is targeted toward non-technical stakeholders and the American public, to inform them of NASA's achievements in maintaining spaceflight leadership. In the report, NASA says both of its COTS partners continue to make technical progress toward developing and demonstrating their cargo transportation capabilities. However, schedules for their demonstration flights have been delayed from the original aggressive targets. It mentions the projected February 7th launch date for the COTS 2 and 3 demonstration flight by SpaceX, as well planning by Orbital Sciences for the maiden launch of their newly named Antares launch vehicle (previously referred to as “Taurus II”) in late February or March 2012, and the COTS demonstration flight to the ISS in April.

NASA also says that it has entered into a new agreement with Houston-based Excalibur Almaz, Inc. (EAI) for collaboration on furthering the development of EAI's spacecraft concept for low Earth orbit crew transportation (pictured, below). The agreement is an unfunded SAA, which means that NASA will provide limited technical support to EAI but no funding.

NASA's Commercial Spaceflight Development programs are investing financial and technical resources to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation capabilities. (Images provided by NASA)



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