Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Controversial Study Creates Commercial Firestorm

As reported by Space News, a study by the Aerospace Corp. concluded NASA "could pay up to $20 billion over 15 years to foster private development and operation of a single, viable commercial crew transportation system."

According to the federally funded research group’s findings, presented Feb. 28 to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Associate Administrator Christopher Scolese, the agency’s out-of-pocket cost to ferry astronauts between Earth and the international space station aboard privately developed space taxis could exceed $100 million per seat — significantly more than the agency currently pays to fly astronauts to the orbiting outpost aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation issued a response to the study, citing several alleged flaws in the methodology. Click here to download an Adobe Acrobat Reader version of the report.

The Space News article cited an undated Aerospace Corp. memo which said that "the analysis was merely intended to develop a modeling tool that could be applied to a variety of data."

"The results shown to NASA and Congress recently were not intended to represent any specific real world scenario," the company said in a memo obtained by Space News. "We modeled a scenario utilizing data from as long as 10 months ago in order to demonstrate the tool’s viability, not the viability of any specific commercial crew transportation system."

Despite the dubious reliability of the study, expect the advocates for perpetuating a government monopoly on space access to use this report to validate their agenda.

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure why there is so much buzz about that study. They just stated that under certain assumptions, the cost may hit $100M. I looked briefly at this study and it seems logical. Yes, there is a possibility SpaceX with its amazing FH and F9 will fail - SpaceX has only launched one tiny satellite into orbit, so etting on them to succeed is risky. And they are still miles ahead from any other competition. So there is a reasonable possibility the government will only have ULA as its only option. And $100M per seat on Delta IV Heavy with Orion seems like a good estimate.