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SSRT: NASA Press Release on X-33 Selection

>Return-Path: chrisj@mail.utexas.edu
>From: chrisj@mail.utexas.edu (Chris W. Johnson)
>To: "Single Stage Rocket Technology News" <ssrt-news@zimbazi.cc.utexas.edu>
>Subject: SSRT: NASA Press Release on X-33 Selection
>Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 15:55:18 -0600
>Sender: listserv@zimbazi.cc.utexas.edu
>X-listname: <ssrt-news@zimbazi.cc.utexas.edu>
>James Cast                                        July 2, 1996
>Headquarters, Washington, DC
>(Phone:  202/358-1779)
>Dom Amatore
>Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
>(Phone:  205/544-0031)
>RELEASE:  96-128
>    Vice President Al Gore today announced that Lockheed
>Martin has been selected to build the X-33 test vehicle, a
>one-half scale model of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV)
>which will be used to demonstrate advanced technologies that
>will dramatically increase reliability and lower the costs of
>putting payloads into space.
>    Lockheed Martin will design, build and conduct the first
>test flight of the X-33 test vehicle by March 1999, and
>conduct at least fifteen flights by December 1999.  NASA has
>budgeted $941 million for the project through 1999.  Lockheed
>Martin will invest $220 million in its X-33 design.
>    Called "VentureStar," the Lockheed Martin design is based
>on a lifting body shape with a radical new aerospike engine
>and a rugged metallic thermal protection system which would be
>launched vertically like a rocket and land horizontally like
>an airplane.
>    "The RLV program is a radical departure from the way NASA
>has done business in the past," NASA Administrator Daniel S.
>Goldin said.  "Our role is to develop the high risk
>technologies that industry cannot afford.  But we won't build
>the vehicle, industry will.  NASA will be a user, not an
>    Goldin said the objective of the RLV technology program is
>simple.  "We want to develop technologies that will allow
>industry to build a vehicle that takes days, not months, to
>turn-around; dozens, not thousands of people to operate;
>reliability ten times better than anything flying today; and
>launch costs that are a tenth of what they are now.  Our goal
>is a reusable launch vehicle that will cut the cost of a pound
>of payload to orbit from $10,000 to $1,000."
>    The X-33 will integrate and demonstrate all the
>technologies in a scale version that would be needed for
>industry to build a full-size RLV.  "The X-33
>will be about half the size of a full-scale RLV.  It will be a
>remotely-piloted, sub-orbital vehicle, capable of altitudes up
>to 50 miles and speeds of Mach 15," said RLV Director Gary
>    The X-33 program is being conducted under a Cooperative
>Agreement, not a conventional customer/supplier contract.
>Under this agreement, NASA defined the broad objectives and
>industry proposed an approach to meet the objectives.
>"Cooperative agreements are performance-based," said Payton.
>"Payment is made only after the industry partner completes a
>pre-determined milestone."
>    "The X-33 test vehicle is the most advanced part of a
>three-pronged RLV program to develop and demonstrate the kinds
>of technologies required by industry to build a new launch
>system that will provide truly affordable and reliable access
>to space," Payton said. "The RLV approach is to design a
>little, build a little, test a little, fly a little."
>*        The subsonic DC-XA, or Clipper Graham vehicle which
>has successfully flown three times from its launch site in
>White Sands, New Mexico, is flight testing advanced
>technologies such as lightweight composite propellant tanks,
>fuel lines and valves.
>*        The Mach 8 X-34 vehicle, to be built by Orbital
>Sciences Corp., will demonstrate technologies necessary for a
>reusable vehicle.
>*        The Mach 15 X-33 vehicle which will integrate and
>test advanced components and technologies necessary for
>industry to build a full-scale RLV.
>    Three industry teams competed for the X-33 vehicle.  In
>addition to Lockheed Martin, proposals were submitted by
>McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach, CA, and Rockwell
>International, Downey, CA.
>    Due to an innovative, paperless procurement process, the
>X-33 evaluation and selection was completed in about one-
>quarter of the time it normally takes to finish procurements
>of this size.  Proposals were submitted by the three companies
>in April on CD-ROM media.  One CD-ROM replaced approximately
>eight boxes worth of printed material.  Proposals were read
>on-screen by each evaluator, and an evaluation database
>allowed them to enter strengths and weaknesses on-line while
>reading the proposal.
>    The VentureStar team includes prime contractor Lockheed
>Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, CA; Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, CA;
>Rohr, Chula Vista, CA; and AlliedSignal Aerospace, Teterboro,
>                             -end-
+                                                                             +
+  Weave a circle 'round him thrice, and close your eyes with holy dread...   +
+                                                                             +