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Air Force to consider EELV downselect
Posted: Wed, Jun 23, 2004, 10:03 AM ET (1403 GMT)
Delta 4 launch of DSCS 3B-6 (Boeing) The Air Force, under Congressional pressure, said this week it will study whether it is in its best interests to consolidate its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program into a single launch vehicle. Currently both the Atlas 5 from Lockheed Martin and the Delta 4 from Boeing are part of the EELV program, but a lack of commercial demand for these vehicles has required the military to spend additional money to sustain production for those vehicles. Last week a report by the House Appropriations Committee recommended that the Pentagon support only a single vehicle, saying the expense to supporting both was not worthwhile. Peter Teets, undersecretary for space for the Air Force, said that Air Force will study the proposal and make a decision by the end of the year, but that he continued to feel that both vehicles are necessary to provide the military with "assured access to space" should one vehicle be sidelined for an extended period. Teets also said the contracting ban on Boeing launch divisions, now in place nearly a year, will likely remain in effect until the end of the year, delaying the bidding for a new round of EELV contracts.
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