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Michael Braukus/Beth Dickey
Headquarters, Washington

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Jan. 5, 2007
NASA Extends Ares I Development Contract
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - NASA has authorized a contract action having a value of $48 million with ATK Launch Systems of Brigham City, Utah, to continue design and development of the first stage for the Ares I crew launch vehicle.

Ares I will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle and its crew of up to six astronauts, or other small cargo payloads, to low-Earth orbit. The first stage will consist of a single reusable solid rocket booster and motor similar to those used on the space shuttle, but with a fifth motor segment added. The upper stage will consist of a J-2X liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine and the associated propellant tanks and fuel distribution systems.

This Ares I first stage contract action will increase a first stage task under an existing shuttle contract by $48 million for a total work effort valued at $111 million. These activities are a preparatory effort leading up to the Ares I first stage prime contract, which will be awarded in the February 2007 timeframe.

The contract action maintains the design, development, test and evaluation schedule; expedites the procurement of new nozzle metal hardware and production tooling for propellant casting and nozzle fabrication; maintains the necessary design and engineering analysis; and continues participation in pilot parachute development tests. The action also provides support for an initial test flight in the spring of 2009 known as Ares I-1 and provides support for Ares I-1 in preparation for Preliminary Design Review. The test flight will use a simulated fifth segment on the first stage and a simulated upper stage.

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