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COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH VEHICLE PASSES KEY MILESTONE

 COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH VEHICLE PASSES KEY MILESTONE
 ELKTON, Md., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's commercial


space transportation industry passed a key milestone recently with the test of a new rocket motor for the Commercial Experiment Transporter (COMET). The new STAR 48V, manufactured by Thiokol Corp. (NYSE: TKC), was test fired at the rocket builder's Elkton facility.
 The motor serves as the upper stage of the EER Systems Conestoga commercial space launch vehicle. EER, a Vienna, Va.-based company, is under contract to the University of Tennessee -- CALSPAN's Center for Space Transportation and Applied Research to carry the 1,800- pound COMET payload and recovery module into a 300-mile high orbit.
 COMET is a dual spacecraft concept providing recoverable and non- recoverable payload services to industry, academia and government. The program is funded by a NASA grant.
 The sea-level static test of the STAR 48V demonstrated the performance of a new movable nozzle configuration. The motor is based on Thiokol's STAR 48B, a spin-stabilized stage, which has flown 33 successful flights. The new nozzle can be moved by as much as four degrees to change the direction of the thrust, removing the need to spin stabilize the stage. Allied Signal provides the controller and actuators that move the nozzle.
 The 89-second duration test simulated a complete flight cycle. Prior to ignition, the motor had been cooled to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. EER Systems' program team, on hand to witness the test, labeled the firing a complete success.
 A second test early this fall will complete the new motor's qualification well ahead of the planned first launch set for early 1993. EER's Conestoga, a cluster of Thiokol Huntsville Division's CASTOR IV motors topped by Elkton's STAR 48V, will lift off from Wallop's Island, Va. A Thiokol STAR 13A slows the recovery module, built by Space Industries, Inc., of Houston for a landing in the salt flats of Utah.
 -0- 6/10/92
 /NOTE: An artist's concept of COMET is available./
 /CONTACT: Mike Bryant of EER Systems, 703-847-5750/
 (TKC) CO: EER Systems Corporation; Thiokol Corporation ST: Maryland IN: ARO SU:


DC -- DC025 -- 8885 06/10/92 14:02 EDT
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Date:Jun 10, 1992
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