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March 22, 2006

Dolores Beasley
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: (202) 358-1600

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Phone: (256) 544-0034

RELEASE: 06-103


NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington has
issued a Request for Information. It asks the aerospace industry for
input regarding the strategy of a key element of a new spacecraft
intended to lift American explorers toward the moon and Mars.

The component is the second or upper stage of the Crew Launch Vehicle,
the successor to the space shuttle and the anticipated flagship in
NASA's next-generation space fleet.

The upper stage is in development by the Constellation Systems Launch
Vehicles Project Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala. The upper stage component is expected to be
propelled by a J-2X engine fueled with liquid oxygen and liquid
hydrogen. The J-2X is an evolved and improved version of the powerful
upper stage engine that propelled the Apollo-era Saturn 1B and Saturn
V rockets to the moon.

In the request NASA encourages respondents to offer ideas to
anticipated technical and business challenges. NASA would like to
know the possible benefits from combining proposed avionics or
on-board electrical flight controls and guidance systems into the
procurement of overall upper-stage production support.

NASA also seeks feedback related to design and specification sharing
among participants, commonality of design tools and software, methods
of reducing component life-cycle costs, and seamless transition of
contractual arrangements.

The request is intended solely to obtain information that will help
NASA define its upper stage acquisition strategy development effort.
NASA will not issue any contracts based on this request.

An update to development design and strategy progress followed by a
question and answer session is scheduled for industry during an open
house event at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, April
18-19. Michoud is one of the facilities selected to manufacture and
assemble the Crew Launch Vehicle upper stage.

The Crew Launch Vehicle is part of NASA's mission to develop a
cost-effective, next-generation space transportation system. The
system will, in keeping with the Vision for Space Exploration, safely
and reliably take human explorers to the moon, Mars and on into the
solar system.

In addition to its primary mission - carrying crews of four to six
astronauts into Earth orbit - the vehicle's 25-ton payload capacity
also may be used to bring resources and supplies to the International
Space Station or to exploration teams traveling to and from the moon.

Crew transportation to the space station is planned for no later than
2014. The first lunar excursion is scheduled as early as 2020. The
Crew Launch Vehicle effort is led for NASA's Exploration Systems
Mission Directorate by the Constellation Systems Launch Vehicles
Project Office at Marshall.

The request for information is available on the Web, at:


For information about NASA's exploration programs on the Web, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

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