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Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

June 2, 2006
NASA Announces Mars Science Lab Mission Launch Contract
NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has selected Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services Inc. to deliver an Atlas V rocket for the Mars Science Laboratory mission to carry a large rover to the red planet in the fall of 2009. The six-wheeled rover will explore Mars for two years, examining sites to identify where the building blocks for life may exist.

The total Mars Science Laboratory launch service price is $194.7 million. That cost includes NASA launch services and mission integration requirements. This is a firm-fixed price contract. The launch services for Mars Science Laboratory are being acquired under the existing NASA Launch Services multiple award procedures.

Principal work for the Atlas V Centaur propellant tank will be performed at Lockheed Martin's San Diego facility, while the primary work location for the Atlas V booster propellant tank's production will be done at Lockheed's facility in Waterton, Colo.

The Mars Science Laboratory will launch from Complex 41 on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., a division of the California Institute of Technology. JPL is responsible for spacecraft design and integration; integration of science instruments; spacecraft system testing; launch operations support and support of mission operations. For more information about the Mars Science Laboratory mission, visit:

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