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Orbital wins COTS award
Posted: Wed, Feb 20, 2008, 7:48 AM ET (1248 GMT)
Taurus 2 illustration (OSC) NASA announced Tuesday that it has awarded Orbital Sciences Corporation a $170-million agreement to support the development of a commercial cargo spacecraft to service the International Space Station. Under the agreement, Orbital will develop a new medium-class launch vehicle, the Taurus 2, and a maneuvering spacecraft, Cygnus, that would ferry pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS. The company plans to carry out a demonstration flight in late 2010 that, if successful, would allow it to begin commercial cargo services to the station in 2011. Orbital is considering carrying out some or all of its ISS launches from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Virginia, rather that Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Orbital proposal was one of 13 submitted when NASA reopened the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program after revoking an earlier award made to Rocketplane Kistler. The other original COTS awardee, SpaceX, is continuing its efforts and is making good progress, according to NASA officials.
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