The Air Force Research Lab has chosen Andrews Space of Seattle and Boeing—in addition to Lockheed Martin—to pursue a Reusable Space Booster system to revolutionize future spacelift. We reported on Lockheed’s contract award in Tuesday’s column. Andrews and Boeing subsequently issued statements outlining their own work. Like Lockheed, each of the two companies initially will mature its RBS concept under a $2 million task order. “We are honored that the USAF has selected Andrews for this important effort,” said Jason Andrews, company president and CEO in a release. “Boeing looks forward to sharing our extensive background in the development of launch systems and reusable space vehicles with the Air Force,” said Steve Johnston, director of advanced space exploration, in his company’s release. The three companies are competing to see which one will advance to a flight demonstration of a sub-scale vehicle known as the RBS Pathfinder in 2015 that will pave the way for the RBS operational architecture.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.