WASHINGTON — President Reagan has authorized a program to be conducted by the Defense Department and NASA to develop a system to sharply cut the cost of launching payloads into space, the agencies announced Wednesday.
"It costs $3,600 a pound now to put things up," said Lt. Col. Rick Oborn of the Air Force. "We hope to bring that down to $400."
The Air Force last July issued contracts for $5 million apiece to seven companies, who were given a year to submit design concepts for the "Advanced Launch System."
Could Succeed Titan 4
The launch system is not envisioned to be used for manned flight, Oborn said. It could be a successor to the Titan 4, the newest heavy-lift launcher in the Air Force arsenal.