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NASA terminates RpK COTS award
Posted: Thu, Oct 18, 2007, 8:37 PM ET (0037 GMT)
Kistler K-1 illustration (Kistler Aero. Corp.) NASA has ended an existing agreement with Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) to help fund development of a reusable launch vehicle and will hold a competition to award the remaining funding, the space agency announced Thursday. RpK was one of two companies that won Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration awards, funded Space Act agreements with NASA to aid in the development of launch vehicles and spacecraft that could service the ISS. RpK had taken over the development of the K-1 two-stage RLV originally proposed by Kistler Aerospace, but had missed several milestones in its agreement, all tied to the company's difficulty raising an estimated $500 million from the private sector. NASA gave the company 30-days' notice of termination last month, citing the missed milestones. NASA will now hold a competition to award the remaining money in the RpK deal, $174.7 million, to another company, with plans to reach an agreement with the winning firm by early next year. The other original COTS awardee, SpaceX, has been making steady progress and could be ready for its first demonstration flight as early as late 2008.
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