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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NASA Cuts COTS Funding by 20%

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has cut the first year funding for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) by 20% next year. COTS is designed to develop rocket launch systems for commercial cargo delivery to the International Space Station in 2010.

Originally COTS was to get $170 million in its first two years - $50 million in FY2006 and $120 million in FY2007. NASA, however, cut by $10 million for FY2006 funding and NASA's requested budget for FY2007, which starts in October, reduces funding to around $91 million.

The six COTS bidders are in the final phase of the NASA competition set for decision August 8. The funding reductions could harm ability to raise private capital to achieve the 2010 target date for orbital service. One or two of the six proposals may be selected from among Andrews Space, Rocketplane Kistler, SpaceDev, SpaceHab, SpaceX, and t/Space.

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