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DARPA picks Space Launch Corporation for RASCAL contract
Posted: Fri, Mar 14, 2003, 9:02 AM ET (1402 GMT)
RASCAL illustration (DARPA) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced late Thursday that it has selected Space Launch Corporation as the sole winner of Phase 2 of a program to develop a low-cost small launcher. Space Launch Corp. was one of six companies selected last April as Phase 1 winners of the Responsive Access Small Cargo Affordable Launch (RASCAL) program to develop a partially-reusable two-stage vehicle. The 18-month Phase 2 contract covers design, development, and risk reduction of critical technologies for the launch system. The RASCAL vehicle would feature a reusable first-stage hypersonic aircraft using mass turbojet technology that would fly to high altitude, where it would deploy an expendable rocket-powered upper stage. RASCAL is designed to place 75 kilograms into a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit within 24 hours of payload arrival for no more than $750,000. DARPA had planned to select two Phase 2 contract winners, later downselecting to a single company to build the RASCAL vehicle, but decided to select only one company to save money. DARPA will decide at the end of Phase 2 whether to proceed with construction of the vehicle, which would be ready for flight in fiscal year 2006. The value of the contract was not disclosed.
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