NASA Seeks Commercial Suborbital Flight Services Proposals

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA is seeking proposals for services from commercial suborbital flight providers and payload integrators to support the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program, which is part of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist.

NASA will award contracts to multiple vendors capable of providing payload integration and flight services on commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles. The flights will carry a variety of payloads to help meet the agency’s technology and innovation goals enabling future missions and benefiting America’s commercial aerospace industries.


NASA Holds Suborbital Launch Vehicle Industry Day at Dryden

Michelle Murray of the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation office addresses representatives of aerospace firms during a Flight Opportunities Program Industry Day at NASA Dryden Jan. 25. (NASA photo / Tom Tschida)


Representatives of more than 20 aerospace firms both large and small met with officials of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center Jan. 25 during an Industry Day meeting for potential providers of sub-orbital reusable launch vehicle and payload integration services.

Discussions focused on NASA’s interest in acquiring commercial flight and payload integration services for NASA-provided technology payloads on sub-orbital reusable space launch vehicles, as reflected in a recent NASA Request For Information submitted to potential commercial providers.

During the morning sessions, Steve Meier, director of the Cross-Cutting Demonstrations Division of NASA’s Office of Chief Technologist, stressed the partnership approach that NASA is seeking with commercial launch vehicle firms, while Michelle Murray of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation outlined the FAA’s licensing and commercial launch approval process.


Suborbital Spotlight: Masten’s Xaero and Xogdor Vehicles

The Xaero vehicle during assembly November 2010. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

NASA’s Office of Chief Technologist has published detailed information about suborbital vehicles that will be available beginning in 2011 for researchers to conduct microgravity experiments. The vehicles are being built by Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR.

Today we will look at Masten Space Systems’ Xaero and Xogdor vehicles. The Mojave, Calif.-based company is expected to make its first Xaero test flight for NASA’s Commercial Reusable Commercial Research (CRuSR) program in January and to begin commercial operations sometime later in the year.


Suborbital Spotlight: Armadillo’s Super Mod, Tube and SOST Vehicles

Armadillo Aerospace's Super Mod vehicle. (Credit: Armadillo Aerospace)

NASA’s Office of Chief Technologist has published detailed information about suborbital vehicles that will be available beginning in 2011 for researchers to conduct microgravity experiments. The vehicles are being built by Armadillo Aerospace,  Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic and XCOR.

Today we will look at platforms being offered by Armadillo Aerospace. The Texas company expects to make the first flight under the NASA funded Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program in January, begin commercial cargo operations in 2011, and start human spaceflight by the end of 2012.


CRuSR Official: NASA Program Will Be Flexible, Forward Thinking

NASA Enlists Caddo Mills-Based Armadillo Aerospace For A Boost to Suborbital Space
Dallas Observer

Armadillo president John Carmack says the company has turned a profit in the last few years thanks to its contracts with NASA and with its pals at the Rocket Racing League. Most mentions of NASA among the Armadillo team, though, are laced with the hopeless sort of sighs you might hear from an Apple Store Genius on his smoke break. While they’re glad to take NASA’s money for any steps along the way to their space tourism future, they’re wary of NASA engineers whose ultimate responsibilities are to agency politics, not rockets….


Masten Plans Extensive Commercial Flight Operations in 2011

The lower stage of Masten Space Systems' Brutus vehicle.


Masten Space Systems, a leader in vertical take off, vertical landing (VTVL) rocket vehicles, announced a contract today with NASA’s new Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program. The initial contract is for four flights of test payloads on Xaero, Masten’s next-generation vehicle currently in assembly.


CSF on CRuSR Awards: We Like It!


The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to congratulate two of its member companies, Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems, for winning an initial NASA test flight contract as part of the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) Program. The first round of the program, an open competition for small businesses, was formally kicked off by NASA earlier this year with a Request for Quotations for commercial reusable suborbital flight services.


NASA Awards $475,000 to Armadillo and Masten for Suborbital Flights

Masten Space Systems' Xombie rocket.


NASA’s Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program (CRuSR) has awarded a total of approximately $475,000 to Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Texas and Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif. The awards will allow the two companies to perform test flights of their experimental vehicles near the edge of space.


NASA Releases RFQ for Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program

XCOR's Lynx suborbital vehicle


This notice is being issued as a Request for Quotations (RFQ) for commercial resusable suborbital flight services. NASA’s Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program has a requirement for the transportation of various Government-provided research payloads on the test flights of vendor vehicles (including vehicle prototypes) intended for commercial reusable suborbital markets. Each flight and related services shall be in accordance with the requirements of the Statement of Work (SOW) that is attached to this solicitation. A CRuSR Pricing Sheet is also provided for vendors to quote their proposed firm fixed prices to perform the indicated required services. Additional procurement documentation for completion by the offeror is also attached.


NASA, FAA Fund Commercial Space Initiatives



December 22, 2009

NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize program, FAA’s Spaceports Infrastructure Grants initiative, and the new NASA Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research program (CRuSR) gained momentum after receiving funding in the NASA and FAA appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2010, passed by Congress and signed by the President last week. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation conducted advocacy efforts for these NASA and FAA programs as part of the CSF’s legislative agenda for this year: