Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Home Stretch for Commercial Crew

NASA has released the Request for Proposals for the final round of the commercial crew competition. This is known as Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap).

Click here to access the RFP page. According to the description on that page, NASA has “the goal for completion of the baseline work no later than 2017 and providing for issuance of IDIQ task orders within an ordering period not to exceed 5 years from the effective date of the contract.”

According to their press release, “NASA expects to award one or more CCtCap contracts no later than September 2014.” The actual timing will depend on Congressional funding, or lack thereof; a NASA Inspector General report issued earlier this month found that commercial crew “received only 38 percent of its originally requested funding for FYs 2011 through 2013, bringing the current aggregate budget shortfall to $1.1 billion when comparing funding requested to funding received.” In each year, the Obama administration requested a significant increase to close the gap during which NASA relies on the Russian space agency for crewed access, only to have Congress butcher the funding request.

The NASA web site for commercial space transportation is http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.

The current status of each of the three finalists:

Click the arrow to watch on YouTube the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser's first approach and landing free-flight test on October 26.

UPDATE November 20, 2013Alan Boyle of NBC News reports on the final found of commercial crew competition.

The timetable and resources available for commercial spaceships are key sticking points that are left unresolved in Tuesday's request for proposals. Last week, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called on Congress to provide the full $821 million requested for the current fiscal year “to keep us on track to begin these launches in 2017.” Congress, however, has proposed spending hundreds of millions of dollars less.

1 comment:

  1. I feel bad for Boeing. They are strong second, but NASA may want winged option for emergencies. And I see no way SpaceX would not get the contract. So the competition is really between Boeing and S-N.