NASA Selects U.S. Firms to Integrate Commercial Suborbital Reusable Platforms
FREMONT, CA: NASA has recently selected four U.S. firms to integrate and fly technology payloads on commercial suborbital reusable platforms, carrying payloads near the boundary of space. The selection can be considered as a part of NASA's continuing effort to foster a viable market for American commercial reusable suborbital platforms that allow testing of new space technologies within Earth's atmosphere. Selected companies will receive an indefinite-delivery and quantity contract for integration as well as flight services, drawing from a pool of commercial space companies. Some among them are Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Paragon Space Development , Tucson, Up Aerospace ., Highlands Ranch and Virgin Galactic. The three-year contracts have two-year extension options and a minimum value of $100,000. The flights will carry a variety of payloads during five diverse flight profiles, thus meeting the agency's research and technology needs. These new contracts are actually logical extension of previous contracts awarded in 2011, using commercial capabilities with proven flight systems. As per the new procurement new vendors and new flight profiles on an annual basis, based on NASA's requirements are added. Also NASA can provide frequent flight opportunities for technology payloads on suborbital platforms. "We've made tremendous progress in working toward the goal of regular, frequent and predictable access to near-space at a reasonable cost with easy recovery of intact payloads," says Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington.