ASTROTECH TO SUPPORT RSC ENERGIA IN PREPARATION OF RUSSIAN MRM1 MODULE FOR FLIGHT ON U.S. SPACE SHUTTLE

Houston, TX (April 8, 2009) - 

Astrotech Corporation, (NASDAQ: SPAB), a leading provider of commercial space services, released today that the RSC Energia agreement in principle with the Company’s SPACEHAB Orbital Transportation, Inc. subsidiary, which was announced late last year, has now been formalized into a $1.8 million contract. Russia’s largest manufacturer of aerospace and space equipment will utilize Astrotech’s Cape Canaveral, Florida payload processing facilities and receive support services from Astrotech to prepare its Mini Research Module (MRM1) for flight aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle during the STS-132 mission.

 

“This is a great win for Astrotech Corporation, and is the result of a lot of hard work from people all across the organization,” said Thomas B. Pickens III, Astrotech’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This contract continues our legacy of spacecraft ground processing support services and builds on our role in supporting the completion and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS).”

 

Space shuttle mission STS-132 is currently scheduled for an April 2010 launch to ferry the MRM1 to the ISS where it will ultimately operate as a docking port extension for the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles. The MRM1 will also be transporting a full payload of cargo including spare parts, research hardware, and consumables to the ISS. Following deployment from the shuttle's cargo bay, the MRM1 will find its permanent residence on the ISS attached to the bottom port of the ZARYA module.

 

The Astrotech Payload Processing Facility, located adjacent to the south entrance of Kennedy Space Center, and the home port for NASA’s space shuttle operations has supported 23 space shuttle missions using the Company’s own commercial, habitable space modules and cargo carriers. Astrotech brings more than two decades of spacecraft ground processing support services and expertise to the endeavor; and, offers established infrastructure capabilities in pre-launch operations, which have serviced more than 260 spacecraft since 1984.

 

This new MRM1 payload processing contract is the latest in a series of collaborative projects between RSC Energia and Astrotech. RSC Energia designed and built the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) series of un-pressurized cargo pallets for Astrotech in the mid to late 1990s. Astrotech and RSC Energia also collaborated on the conceptual development of the Enterprise module in 2000-2001, and supported various proposal development efforts such as the International Standard Payload Rack Waste Management System and the ISS Logistics Soft Stowage Bags. And, over the last 12 years, RSC Energia designed and built for Astrotech various components of flight support equipment for ISS Orbital Replacement Units flying on ICCs in the shuttle payload bay, including the Strela Crane, Portable Work Platform, and Service Module Debris Panels. Astrotech is honored to carry this collaboration forward with the MRM1 effort.

 

About Astrotech Corporation

 

Astrotech is a commercial and entrepreneurial force in the space industry providing a full spectrum of products and services to both the government and private sectors. The Company offers spacecraft prelaunch processing facilities and services, production of valuable commercial products in space, development and extension of space-based products to the consumer market, space access and payload integration services program and engineering support ranging from development and manufacturing of flight hardware to large scale government project management.

 

The statements in this document may contain forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, trends, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, continued government support and funding for key space programs, product performance and market acceptance of products and services, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the company's Securities & Exchange Commission filings including the annual report on Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

 

For more information, contact:

 

Tania Shupe
Corporate Marketing and Communications
Astrotech Corporation
713.558.5299
tshupe@spacehab.com