Would this work? Which design you like the best?
Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin to Collaborate on Orbital Space Plane
By Brian Berger
Space News Staff Writer
25 September 2003
WASHINGTON -- The field of likely bidders to build the Orbital Space Plane is about to shrink from three to two, according to industry sources.
Northrop Grumman is dropping plans to bid for the Orbital Space Plane prime contract and has entered discussions with Lockheed Martin Corp. about a teaming arrangement on the program, industry sources said. Such a move essentially would pit the Lockheed Martin-Northrop Grumman team against Boeing Co. for the multibillion-dollar contract.
What this would mean for Northrop Grummanâ€™s current Orbital Space Plane partner, Orbital Sciences Corp., is not immediately clear. Orbital Sciences spokesman Barron Beneski could not be reached immediately for comment.
Billed by NASA as the nationâ€™s next space vehicle, the Orbital Space Plane would launch atop an expendable rocket and be used to ferry astronaut crews to and from the international space station. Plans call for fielding an early space station crew rescue version of the vehicle by 2010, but NASA is considering moving up that schedule by two years.
Northrop Grumman spokesman Brooks McKinney confirmed his company is in discussions with Lockheed Martin about teaming on the Orbital Space Plane, but could not say whether the companies have notified NASA of the proposed partnership.
â€śWe arenâ€™t prepared to discuss this relationship because the relationship has not been formalized in terms of the roles and responsibilities,â€ť McKinney said.
Northrop Grummanâ€™s move comes as NASA prepares to release a formal request for proposal to industry in November with the intent to award the prime contract for the Orbital Space Plane around mid-2004. Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are each currently under contract to NASA working on candidate designs for the Orbital Space Plane.
NASA announced Sept. 23 that it had completed a more detailed set of technical specifications for the Orbital Space Plane in advance of the planned solicitation.
Four concepts for the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) design released by NASA. http://www.space.com/images/h_osp_launch_02.jpg
Orbital Sciences Corporation and Northrop Grumman are teamed to address NASA needs for an Orbital Space Plane. CREDIT: Orbital Sciences http://www.space.com/images/h_boeing_osp_02.jpg
Boeing engineers are designing the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) for NASA. The company is one of three contractor teams developing proposals for the OSP which includes the spacecraft, ground operations and all supporting technologies needed to conduct missions to and from the International Space Station. CREDIT: Boeing http://www.space.com/images/h_x37_schematic_02.jpg
Artist concept of a cutaway view of the X-37 showing its components. The X-37 launch vehicle experimental demonstrator will operate in both the orbital and reentry phases of flight. This unpiloted Boeing-built ship could help in designing the Orbital Space Plane by flying and verifying certain technologies. CREDIT: NASA/Marshall