NASA SAYS THAT THE competition for the role of contractor for privatised Space Shuttle operations is "wide open", despite the formation of the United Space Alliance by Rockwell and Lockheed Martin, the leading space-agency contractors for the $3.2 billion-a-year programme (Flight International, 9-15 August).

The agency is expected to announce its selection of a contractor "within a year", according the Wayne Littles, NASA's associate administrator for space flight. The transfer to privatised operations will take three or more years, but NASA will retain responsibility for flight safety and major modifications to the craft.

Source: Flight International