Time may be running out on the state's space tourism and cargo-carrying company to fulfill its mission with NASA.
Oklahoma City-based Rocketplane Kistler was awarded a $207 million contract with NASA a year ago to come up with a reusable launch vehicle that could transport cargo to and from the International Space Station. The contract is contingent upon Rocketplane Kistler providing financing of its own for the project, as well.
But, for most of this year, the company reportedly has had difficulty living up to its end of the deal.
"We're looking at what are all the options out there," said Scott Horowitz, NASA's exploration systems chief, in Aviation Week. "Do you transfer the money over to player B, or you bring out player C, or (do) you do something in the commercial transportation that enables everyone to have a better shot at providing a commercial transportation capability?"
Rocketplane Kistler, a subsidiary of Rocketplane Inc., won the NASA contract in August of 2006. But, a month later, Rocketplane Kistler missed its first financing deadline.
A second deadline was set for February, but Rocketplane Kistler missed that, as well. The deadline was pushed back to May, but the company still was unable to complete its part of the financing.
Rocketplane Kistler officials said they should have the money by the end of July. But, according to an Aug. 1 Space News article, Rocketplane Kistler missed that deadline, and that the company would submit a "closure plan" to NASA by Aug. 3.
"(Rocketplane Kistler) is making good progress, and we are being patient to give them every opportunity to succeed," said NASA's Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of the agency's Commercial Crew and Cargo program, through a spokeswoman, in the article. "Scott Cooper
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