The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Nasa will work together to develop a technology roadmap for the commercial reusable launch vehicle (RLV) industry.
The study will focus on identifying technologies and assessing their potential use to accelerate the development of commercial RLVs.
The initiative will enable improved reliability, availability, launch turn-time, robustness and significantly lower costs than current launch systems.
The study results will provide roadmaps with recommended government technology tasks and milestones for different vehicle categories.
Nasa deputy administrator Lori Garver said that there is a natural evolutionary path from today's emerging commercial suborbital RLV industry to growing and developing the capability to provide low-cost, frequent and reliable access to low Earth orbit.
Nasa's Innovative Partnerships Program director Doug Comstock said that low-cost and reliable access to space will deliver significant benefits to all of Nasa's existing missions, from science to human exploration to aeronautics, as well as to the nation's security and to national economic growth.
AFRL and Nasa along with the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation will meet with commercial RLV industry representatives to explore and understand their long-range growth plans and technology to implement those plans successfully.
The meetings will begin at the Commercial and Government Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange 2009.