Friday, February 18, 2011

Bolden: Commercial Space Project Office to be Located at KSC

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Florida Today reports NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told their editorial board that the project office for commercial space will be located at Kennedy Space Center.

He said he planned to formally announce "within the next few weeks, if not days" that KSC will be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis.

NASA's primary launch operations site never has hosted a human spaceflight project office.

That work historically has been done at Johnson Space Center in Houston or NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and during Project Mercury, at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

I fully expect a caterwaul to arise from the Texas congressional delegation to protect their pork funding jobs at Johnson Space Center ... Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), who heads the House Science Committee, was described in a December 13, 2010 Dallas Morning News article as "a guardian of home-state interests and federal programs, including NASA."

UPDATE February 18, 2011 2:45 PM ESTFlorida Today posted the below video excerpt from their Bolden interview:

Two interesting points:

* Bolden said that commercial cargo has priority over commercial crew, because that need comes sooner. He specifically cites SpaceX and Orbital as two candidates for the cargo contract shortly after Shuttle retires.

* The commercial crew competitors will have three years from the date a contract is signed to deliver the first crewed flight. He said he expects that date to be in 2015. Working backward, that would mean the crew contract will be awarded in 2012. He said five competitors already have $50 million awards to develop technology towards that goal.

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