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Federal Technology Week

NASA, as part of its efforts to develop a technology roadmap for the commercial reusable launch vehicle (RLV) industry, is to partner with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The study will focus on identifying technologies and assessing their potential use to accelerate development of commercial RLVs that have improved reliability, availability, launch turn-time, robustness and significantly lower costs than current launch systems. Results from the study will provide roadmaps with recommended federal technology tasks and milestones for different vehicle categories.

“NASA is committed to stimulating the emerging commercial RLV industry,” deputy administrator Lori Garver said Oct.13 at at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “There’s a natural evolutionary path from today’s emerging commercial suborbital RLV industry to growing and developing the capability to provide low-cost, frequent and reliable access to low Earth orbit. One part of our plan is to partner with other federal agencies to develop a consensus roadmap of the commercial RLV industry’s long-range technology needs.”

NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) office is leading the study.

“Low-cost and reliable access to space will deliver significant benefits to all NASA’s existing missions, from science to human exploration to aeronautics, as well as to our nation’s security and to national economic growth,” said IPP director Doug Comstock. “Part of our plan is to apply lessons learned from the recent past and also the great successes of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in stimulating the American commercial airplane industry nearly 100 years ago.”

The NASA-AFRL study will begin next week (Oct.26-29) at the Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space 7 Technology Exchange 2009 in Dayton, Ohio. NASA, AFRL, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s office of commercial space transportation will meet there with representatives of the commercial RLV industry. The agencies intend to “explore and understand” the RLV industry’s long-range growth plans and technology they could use to implement those plans successfully.

For more details of the Commercial RLV Technology Roadmap study, visit:


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