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NASA Begins Commercial Partnership With United Launch Alliance

July 18, 2011

J.D. Harrington      
Headquarters, Washington                                         

Candrea Thomas 
Kennedy Space Center, Fla. 

Chris Chavez 
United Launch Alliance, Denver 
RELEASE: 11-232


DENVER -- Through a new agreement, United Launch Alliance (ULA) will 
provide technical information to NASA about using the Atlas V rocket 
to launch astronauts into space. The announcement was made Monday at 
the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

"I am truly excited about the addition of ULA to NASA's Commercial 
Crew Development Program team," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden 
said. "Having ULA on board may speed the development of a commercial 
crew transportation system for the International Space Station, 
allowing NASA to concentrate its resources on exploring beyond low 
Earth orbit." 

NASA and ULA's unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) requires ULA to 
provide data on the Atlas V, a flight-proven expendable launch 
vehicle used by NASA and the Department of Defense for critical space 

NASA will share its human spaceflight experience with ULA to advance 
crew transportation system capabilities and the draft human 
certification requirements. ULA will provide NASA feedback about 
those requirements, including providing input on the technical 
feasibility and cost effectiveness of NASA's proposed certification 

"This unfunded SAA will look at the Atlas V to understand its design 
risks, its capabilities, how it can be used within the context of 
flying our NASA crew and maturing ULA's designs for the Emergency 
Detection System and launch vehicle processing and launch 
architectures under a crewed configuration," said Ed Mango, NASA's 
Commercial Crew Program manager. 

The majority of the work will be completed by the end of this year. As 
part of the agreement, NASA will: 
-- participate in milestone and technical review briefings and provide 
technical feedback on milestone completion 
-- assist in identification of risks and possible mitigation 

ULA will: 
-- continue to advance the Atlas V CTS concept, including design 
maturation and analyses 
-- conduct ULA program reviews as planned 
-- perform a Design Equivalency Review 
-- develop Hazard Analyses unique for human spaceflight 
-- develop a Probabilistic Risk Assessment 
-- document an Atlas V CTS certification baseline 
-- conduct Systems Requirements Review 

"We believe this effort will demonstrate to NASA that our systems are 
fully compliant with NASA requirements for human spaceflight," said 
George Sowers, ULA's vice president of business development. "ULA 
looks forward to continued work with NASA to develop a U.S. 
commercial crew space transportation capability providing safe, 
reliable, and cost effective access to and return from low Earth 
orbit and the International Space Station." 

In 2010, NASA awarded $6.7 million to ULA to accompany its own $1.3 
million investment to develop an Emergency Detection System prototype 
test bed. The EDS will monitor critical launch vehicle and spacecraft 
systems and issue status, warning and abort commands to crew during 
their mission to low Earth orbit. EDS is the sole significant element 
necessary for flight safety to meet the requirements to certify ULA's 
launch vehicles for human spaceflight. 

For information on the United Launch Alliance, visit: 


For information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit: 



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