According to an article at, NASA yesterday released a status report on the first year of NASA’s Space Launch Initiative; the search for a space shuttle replacement, currently planned to begin operating ten years from now. The competing contractors – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and a team consisting of Northrop Grumman and Orbital Sciences Corp. – have their work cut out for them. NASA is looking for both a ten-fold improvement in per-pound launch costs (from $10,000 per pound to $1,000) and massive improvements in crew survivability.