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Rocketplane, NASA agreement looks to be over



NASA officials are only halfway confirming a story that the federal agency is terminating its contract with Rocketplane Kistler.

Melissa Mathews, NASA spokeswoman, told Oklahoma Gazette the agency is taking the first steps toward terminating the contract with the Oklahoma City-based company.

"On Friday, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems, Scott Horowitz, notified Rocketplane Kistler by letter that the company has failed to perform under its Space Act agreement with the agency," Mathews said. "According to Article 17 of the agreement, NASA is required to provide such written notice at least 30 days in advance of termination of the agreement for failure to perform, which includes the failure to meet agreed-upon milestones."

However, Mathews said a final decision on terminating the contract has not been made.

"The notification that went out on Friday is a required step before
termination, under the terms of the Space Act Agreement," she said. "But it doesn't commit us to termination."

A story out today in Aviation Weekly's Aerospace Daily and Defense Report indicated NASA was terminating the contract.

Rocketplane Kistler was awarded a $207 million contract last year to build a cargo-carrying rocket for NASA, to be used to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station.

The company was formed specifically to build the NASA rocket. Its sister company, Rocketplane Global, was developed to start a space tourism business in Oklahoma. -Scott Cooper

More Rocketplane coverage:
Rocketplane begins staff layoffs
Ex-Rocketplane chief engineer says funding diverted from tourism vehicle
Rocketplane lays off manager, seeks $500 million
Rocketplane responds
Texas rocket leaves Oklahoma soil, returns 
Rocketplane beat to launch by Texas company 
Another rocket company ready to do business with state


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