Rocketplane Kistler's (RpK) Space Act Agreement Terminated
On Thursday, October 18, 2007, NASA terminated its funded agreement with aerospace firm Rocketplane Kistler of Oklahoma City, which repeatedly failed to meet agreed-upon milestones in its effort to develop and demonstrate commercial transportation capabilities to low Earth orbit. NASA informed Rocketplane Kistler Thursday of its decision in a letter signed by Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Rick Gilbrech.
In 2006, NASA chose two companies to receive COTS funding: Rocketplane Kistler and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, of El Segundo, Calif. Both companies signed Space Act Agreements with the agency that detailed mutually agreed-upon financial and technical milestones, as well as a payment schedule based on those requirements.
In late May, Rocketplane Kistler missed the fourth milestone, a second round of private financing, in its COTS agreement. After months of discussions with the company, NASA officially notified Rocketplane Kistler in early September of its failure to perform. The agency decided to terminate the Rocketplane Kistler agreement when, after careful consideration, NASA concluded that further efforts were not in the agency's best interest. NASA followed the process for termination that was spelled out in the Space Act Agreement.
NASA's other funded COTS partner, SpaceX, is current on all of its financial and technical milestones. NASA also has unfunded COTS agreements with five other companies.
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