Saturday, December 18, 2010
And the Nominees Are ...
Not the manager of NASA's Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Office (C3PO).
Today's Florida Today has an article about the applicants for the second round of NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.
Companies this week submitted proposals seeking a share of the roughly $200 million NASA plans to spend during the next year to develop their vehicles.
NASA's eventual choice of two or three commercial providers of crew taxi services to the International Space Station likely will be taken from that group.
The NASA office responsible for the program is called the Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Office. They refer to themselves as C3PO.
According to this page on the NASA site:
NASA has intentionally limited its participation in the commercial partners' programs to enable maximum use of innovative, cost-effective commercial practices. NASA’s primary role is to monitor the progress of its CPs through an assessment of the SAA milestones and to make payment for successfully completed milestones. NASA provides expert technical assistance as requested or where considered necessary via the NASA COTS Advisory Team (CAT), discipline experts drawn from across the Agency. CATs selectively support CP reviews and consult on technical issues as requested. More extensive NASA support requires reimbursement for services or facility use via Reimbursable Space Act Agreements. Commercial Partners also receive ISS integration and certification support for their visiting vehicles.
NASA resource limitations require restrictions on the level of support that can be provided to Commercial Partners with unfunded SAAs. Unfunded CPs are not permitted to conduct demonstration flights to the ISS. However, they can provide alternative orbital test beds which simulate the ISS and its interfaces. Unfunded CPs have access to ISS interface data and NASA technical support as resources permit.
Given their successful December 8 flight of the Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX would seem to be the leader in this competition.