The Defense Department announced that the first contracts have been awarded for development of the National Aerospace Plane. The contracts are for a combined figure of almost $90 million. Five contracts worth about $7 million each were awarded for conceptual design of the airframe, while two were awarded for conceptual design of its propulsion system. A $28.5-million contract for design work on the propulsion system was awarded to the Pratt & Whitney unit of United Technologies, while a $26-million contract was given to General Electric. All seven of the fixed-price contracts must be completed by June, 1987.