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COTS companies pass initial milestones
Posted: Sat, Feb 17, 2007, 10:50 AM ET (1550 GMT)
Kistler K-1 illustration (Kistler Aero. Corp.) Two companies that are receiving NASA funding to support the develop of commercial systems to service the International Space Station have met their first set of milestones, NASA announced Friday. SpaceX completed the preliminary design review for its Dragon spacecraft, which the company plans to launch on an initial demonstration flight in September 2008. Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) completed a systems requirements review for the docking interfaces for its K-1 vehicle, which had previously passed critical design reviews for its two stages; the company also passed a milestone of lining up a round of private financing in late 2006. SpaceX and RpK received awards from NASA as part of its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration program last August, part of a NASA effort to stimulate the development of private vehicles that could service the ISS once the shuttle is retired in 2010. The COTS funding will be given to the companies in phases as they achieve project milestones. NASA has also awarded Space Act agreements to two other companies, PlanetSpace and t/Space, developing similar systems; those agreements, unlike the COTS awards, do not include any money.
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