NASA News: NASA, NRO, USAF Establish Strategy for Certifying New Expendable Launch Vehicles

WASHINGTON -- NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the
U.S. Air Force signed an agreement this week to establish clear
criteria for certification of commercial providers of launch vehicles
used for national security space and civil space missions.

The U.S. government is committed to procuring commercial launch
services for its satellite and robotic missions, including Evolved
Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, launches. The new entrant launch
vehicle certification strategy is the latest step in a cooperative
effort by the Air Force, NASA and NRO to take advantage of new launch
capability for the three agencies' missions.

The agencies previously signed a Letter of Intent in October 2010,
signaling their collaboration on launch requirements. A memorandum of
understanding was signed in March, outlining their plans for future
EELV-class launch vehicle acquisition, including the need for a
coordinated strategy for certification of new entrant launch systems.

The basis of the new strategy comes from NASA's existing policy
directive for launch vehicle risk mitigation. It also recognizes that
mission-unique requirements from each of the three agencies may
result in different certification approaches to mitigate launch risk.
The document provides a common framework and language among the
agencies for communicating expectations to new launch service providers.

The risk-based certification framework allows the agencies to consider
both the cost and risk tolerance of the payload and their confidence
in the launch vehicle. For payloads with higher risk tolerance, the
agencies may consider use of launch vehicles with a higher risk
category rating and provide an opportunity for new commercial
providers to gain experience launching government payloads.

Within a given risk category rating, if new entrants have launch
vehicles with a demonstrated successful flight history, then the
government may require less technical evaluation for non-recurring
certification of the new launch system. This new strategy further
enables competition from emerging, commercially developed launch
capabilities for future Air Force, NASA, and NRO missions.



NASA'S Next-Generation Space Observatory Comes To Baltimore

WASHINGTON -- Media representatives are invited to an up-close look at
a full-size model of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope at the
Maryland Science Center, located at 601 Light Street in Baltimore's
Inner Harbor.

The model will be displayed from Oct. 14-26 as part of the Association
of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) annual conference being held in
Baltimore. ASTC is a nonprofit organization of science centers and
museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science among
increasingly diverse audiences. Several supporting activities are
planned with scientists and engineers to talk about the unprecedented
science capabilities of the largest space telescope ever built.

On Friday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. EDT, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
will make brief remarks, take questions from reporters and tour the
Webb model.

A press conference will culminate the 13-day public display on
Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 9:45 a.m., at the Maryland Science Center.
Participants will include:

- U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
- NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver
- John Mather, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics and Webb
telescope senior project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Md.
- Adam Riess, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, professor
of astronomy and physics at the Johns Hopkins University, and a
senior member of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
- Riccardo Giacconi, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics and
university professor at the Johns Hopkins University
- John Grunsfeld, deputy director of the Space Telescope Science
Institute and a former astronaut who participated in three
spaceflights to service Hubble

For more information or access to events, media representatives should
contact Lynn Chandler at 301-286-2806 or lynn.chandler-1@nasa.gov.

The Webb telescope will provide images of the first galaxies ever
formed and explore planets around distant stars. The unique
observatory is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and
the Canadian Space Agency.

For more information about the Webb telescope, visit:



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