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Lockheed Gets Kistler Rocket Tank Contract

June 18, 1997|(Associated Press)

Kistler Aerospace awarded a $50-million contract to Lockheed Martin to build five sets of liquid oxygen tanks for its reusable K-1 rockets. Kistler, which has headquarters in Los Angeles and Kirkland, Wash., is aiming to become the United Parcel Service of space by building a fleet of launch vehicles that can loft satellites into low-Earth orbit 100 times. The rockets on the market today can be used only once. The Kistler contract will create more than 100 jobs for Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin's Manned Space Systems division. Privately held Kistler has raised about $100 million in venture capital to build 122-foot reusable rockets, which promise to reduce the price for space launches--currently $10 million to $25 million. Its first launch is planned for 1999. Lockheed shares fell $2.25 cents to close at $95.128 on the NYSE.

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