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SwRI Selected as Payload Integrator for Three NASA Suborbital Flight Opportunities Research Providers

Press Release From: Southwest Research Institute
Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

image Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been selected to provide payload flight integration services as part of three suborbital flight provider contracts recently announced by NASA to Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Masten Space Systems. These contracts are an important step forward for the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, funded by NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., and affirm the need for commercial space access for a range of research and educational applications.

"We're excited for ourselves, for our flight provider partners and for NASA. These wins add to SwRI's growing base of payload and payload specialist work and experience in the next generation of suborbital research being undertaken with reusable vehicles such as XCOR's Lynx I, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip 2 and the bevy of vehicles Masten will be flying," says Dr. Alan Stern, associate vice president of SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division, and the architect of SwRI's next-generation suborbital programs using these and similar vehicles.

"We're looking forward to seeing dozens and later hundreds of payloads flying in space aboard suborbital vehicles in the coming years," adds SwRI Space Operations Department director and suborbital payload integration proposal manager John Andrews. "The potential for new science, new technology testing and a wide array of educational applications is literally staggering."

SwRI's history of suborbital research stretches back more than 30 years using sounding rockets, and now includes the payload integration work awarded as a part of the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, as well as a series of internally funded experiments SwRI designed and will operate aboard Virgin Galactic and XCOR vehicles, perhaps beginning as soon as 18 months from now.

For more information about SwRI suborbital research, contact Dr. Alan Stern at alan@boulder.swri.edu or John Andrews at andrews@boulder.swri.edu or call (303) 546-9670.

About SwRI:

SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 3,000 employees and an annual research volume of more than $548 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For more information about Southwest Research Institute, please visit newsroom.swri.org or www.swri.org .

SOURCE: Southwest Research Institute

Southwest Research Institute Maria Martinez, 210-522-3305 mmartinez@swri.org

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