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Research Announcement to Jump-Start X-34

To Lee,

Lee, I got this message a few hours ago. If I understand it correctly,
it does say that the X-34 project is revived. I also notice this article
says that the X-34 project will not be used for commercial applications.



Jim Cast
Headquarters, Washington, DC               March 12, 1996
(Phone:  202/358-1779)

Dom Amatore
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
(Phone:  205/544-0031)

RELEASE:  96-45


    A forthcoming NASA Research Announcement (NRA) will solicit 
industry and government proposals aimed at re-structuring the X-34 
program allowing for one or more small technology demonstrator 
vehicles to begin flight tests in 1998.

    The original X-34 was to have been a small, reusable 
commercial launch vehicle as well as a technology test bed for the 
Agency's Reusable Launch Vehicle activities.  The Cooperative 
Agreement which formed this initial industry-government 
partnership has been revoked by industry due to their concerns 
about the commercial viability of the effort.

    The intention to issue an NRA by the end of the month was 
announced today in the "Commerce Business Daily."  "This 
announcement marks an important step in focussing the X-34 program 
on our top priority of technology demonstration flight tests," 
said Gary Payton, Director of NASAUs Reusable Launch Vehicle 
Program.  "This will allow government and industry to get on with 
the important task of demonstrating key technologies in the 
demanding test environments that address tomorrowUs reusable space 
transportation needs," Payton said.

    This re-structured technology demonstration program -- not 
tied to potential commercial applications -- is being planned to 
bridge the gap between this springUs flight tests of the DC-XA 
(NASA's Advanced Delta Clipper), and projected flight tests of a 
larger X-33 demonstrator in the spring of 1999.  The X-33 program 
could lead to a national, industry-led decision, by 
the year 2000, to develop a commercial vehicle early next century 
which will provide affordable, reliable and reusable access to 
space.  Results of the X-34 program will be shared with industry 
which is soon to begin development of the X-33.

    Plans for the program include launch and landing one or more 
unmanned, reusable vehicles up to 25 times within a year;  powered 
flights to at least 250,000 feet and capable of attaining 8-times 
the speed of sound or better;  use of advanced thermal protection 
systems flying subsonically through rain and fog;  flights of new 
technologies that test composite structures, composite tanks, and 
new integrated avionics;  and demonstrations of safe abort and 
autonomous landing techniques, in high cross winds, utilizing 
modern landing systems.

    The government commitment in the re-structured program is 
estimated to be approximately $60 million.

Today's Commerce Business Daily announcement is also available 
through the Internet via the Marshall Space Flight Center 
Procurement Home Page at URL:   


and the NASA RLV Home Page URL:  http://rlv.msfc.nasa.gov

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