Monday, April 18, 2011

NASA Announces Winners of CCDev Competition

Blue Origin's Goddard demonstration vehicle in mid-flight above its West Texas launch pad during a test launch on Nov. 13, 2006. CREDIT: Blue Origin.

NASA announced today the winners of the latest round of Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) competition.

Click here for the NASA press release.

Click here for the report.

Click here for the Florida Today report.

To quote from the NASA press release:

Each company will receive between $22 million and $92.3 million to advance commercial crew space transportation system concepts and mature the design and development of elements of their systems, such as launch vehicles and spacecraft.

The selectees for CCDev2 awards are:
— Blue Origin, Kent, Wash., $22 million
— Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colo., $80 million
— Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, Calif., $75 million
— The Boeing Company, Houston, $92.3 million

To quote from the article:

The agency's investment in commercial crew development is an attempt to close the gap in human spaceflight following the retirement of the shuttles.

"We're committed to safely transporting U.S. astronauts on American-made spacecraft and ending the outsourcing of this work to foreign governments," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "These agreements are significant milestones in NASA's plans to take advantage of American ingenuity to get to low-Earth orbit, so we can concentrate our resources on deep space exploration."

The program's second-round awards will be used to mature the companies' commercial crew space transportation system concepts, and further the design and development of the proposed spacecraft and launch vehicles.

Click here to visit NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo web site.

UPDATE April 19, 2011Click here for a more lengthy Florida Today report.

Reporter James Dean wrote:

NASA did not specify when it would open a competition to select the vehicles that will ultimately fly crews, saying plans could be released by late this summer.

Philip McAlister, acting director of the Commercial Spaceflight Development program at NASA headquarters, said the field of competitors also won't be limited to Monday's winners, which did not include any launch vehicle providers.

Among the four finalists that lost out Monday were ULA, which won $6.7 million in the program's first round to work on an emergency detection system, and ATK, which sought to repurpose a solid rocket booster developed under NASA's canceled Constellation program as the first stage of a crew launcher.

The other two were Orbital Sciences Corp., which has a contract to deliver cargo and had proposed a space plane to carry crews, and Excalibur Almaz, which is upgrading old Soviet-designed systems.

Also overlooked Monday was a proposal by lead shuttle contractor United Space Alliance to study the viability of flying the shuttle commercially. has this article which details each of the winning proposals.

A Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser atop an Atlas V. Photo source: has this excellent detailed article as well.

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