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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 15:05 EDT

NASA Announces Commercial RLV Technology Roadmap Project

October 13, 2009

NASA is partnering with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a technology roadmap for the commercial reusable launch vehicle, or RLV, industry.

“NASA is committed to stimulating the emerging commercial reusable launch vehicle industry,” said Lori Garver, deputy administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “There is 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.”

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

“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 Doug Comstock, director of NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program at NASA Headquarters. “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.”

This NASA and Air Force study will begin at the Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange 2009, held in Dayton, Ohio, Oct. 26-29. NASA and the Air Force Research Lab, with participation from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, will meet with representatives from the commercial RLV industry to explore and understand their long-range growth plans and the technology they could use to implement those plans successfully.

NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program is leading the study. For more information about the Innovative Partnerships Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ipp/home

For more information about the Commercial RLV Technology Roadmap study, visit: http://commercialspaceinitiatives.arc.nasa.gov

For more information about the Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange 2009, visit: http://www.usasymposium.com/craste