WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has awarded the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena a new five-year contract to manage the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The contractor's primary mission is to support NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in carrying out specific objectives identified in the SMD Science Plan. The contract is for $8.5 billion.
The contract extends the agreement between Caltech and NASA for management of JPL beyond its current expiration date of Sept. 30. The new contract runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017.
"We are very pleased to be continuing our partnership with NASA," said Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau. "Through this sustained collaboration, we ensure that JPL continues to be a national resource for space exploration, scientific leadership, technology and discovery, as well as an inspiration for young scientists and engineers."
NASA's only federally funded research and development center, JPL conducts research expanding human understanding of Earth, the sun, the solar system, stars, planetary systems, galaxies, and the formation and evolution of the universe. JPL also manages NASA's Mars Exploration Program, which currently operates two spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet and two rovers on its surface, including the recently landed Curiosity.
JPL's other responsibilities include support of NASA's applications, space sciences, Earth science and other science programs. Spacecraft managed by JPL have visited every planet in our solar system.
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