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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:NASA Commercial Crew Development (CCDev)
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Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA Seeks More Proposals On Commercial Crew Development

NASA has issued an announcement seeking proposals from U. S. industry to further advance commercial crew space transportation concepts and mature the design and development of system elements, such as launch vehicles and spacecraft. Awards will result in funded Space Act Agreements.

Multiple awards are expected to be announced by March 2011 for terms of up to 14 months. Approximately $200 million total is expected to be available for awards under this announcement, but funding is dependent on the 2011 fiscal year appropriations from Congress. The deadline for submitting proposals is Dec. 13.

The agreements are expected to generate significant progress toward maturing the design and development of commercial crew systems elements that also ensure crew and passenger safety. The overall objective is to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability. Through this activity, NASA also may be able to spur economic growth as potential new space markets are created. Once developed, crew transportation capabilities could become available to commercial and government customers.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA Awards Next Set Of Commercial Crew Development Agreements

NASA has awarded four Space Act Agreements in the second round of the agency's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2) effort. 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

"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. "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 goal of CCDev2 is to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capability. Through this activity, NASA also may be able to spur economic growth as potential new space markets are created.

Once developed, crew transportation capabilities could become available to commercial and government customers.

"The next American-flagged vehicle to carry our astronauts into space is going to be a U.S. commercial provider," said Ed Mango, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager. "The partnerships NASA is forming with industry will support the development of multiple American systems capable of providing future access to low-Earth orbit."

These awards are a continuation of NASA's CCDev initiatives, which began in 2009 to stimulate efforts within U.S. industry to develop and demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA's Partners Meet Milestones For Developing Future Commercial Spacecraft

NASA's industry partners have met all their initial milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities to reduce the gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability.

NASA posted its first status report (PDF) on the agency's Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev2) program to its website. The report highlights the progress and accomplishments for the agency's commercial spaceflight development efforts. Designed to be a bi-monthly report, it is targeted toward the interested layperson and other non-technical stakeholders in order to keep them informed of our achievements.

"We're only 60 days into CCDev 2, and their progress is right on schedule," said Phil McAlister, NASA's acting director, commercial spaceflight development.

NASA's Commercial Crew Development program is investing financial and technical resources to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation capabilities.

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA Releases Commercial Crew Draft RFP, Announces CCDEV2 Optional Milestones

NASA unveiled Monday an outline of its acquisition strategy to procure transportation services from private industry to carry U.S. astronauts to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station. The agency also announced the addition of optional milestones for the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiative.

"This is a significant step forward in America's amazing story of space exploration," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "It's further evidence we are committed to fully implementing our plan — as laid out in the Authorization Act — to outsource our space station transportation so NASA can focus its energy and resources on deep space exploration."

NASA's draft request for proposal (RFP) outlines a contract that will be awarded to multiple companies that provide a complete end-to-end design, including spacecraft, launch vehicles, launch services, ground and mission operations and recovery. The Integrated Design Contract (IDC) of up to $1.61 billion will run from July 2012 through April 2014.

"This IDC effort will bring us through the critical design phase to fully incorporate our human spaceflight safety requirements and NASA's International Space Station mission needs," said NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango. "We look forward to strong U.S. industry response."

Bolden also announced on Monday at a speech to the Air Force Association's 2011 Air and Space Conference that NASA will fund optional milestones pre-negotiated as part of some of the original CCDev2 Space Act Agreements (SAA) to help accelerate development.

NASA amended Sierra Nevada Corp.'s SAA to include four optional milestones for a total of $25.6 million, bringing the potential value of Sierra Nevada's SAA to $105.6 million, if all milestones are completed successfully.

NASA also amended Boeing's SAA to include three optional milestones for a total of $20.6 million, bringing the potential value of Boeing's SAA to $112.9 million, if all milestones are reached.

"All four CCDev2 partners are performing very well and meeting their milestones," said Phil McAlister, director of NASA's Commercial Spaceflight Development. "These additional milestones were selected because they sufficiently accelerated the development of commercial crew transportation systems to justify additional NASA investment."

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA Takes Next Step in Developing Commercial Crew Program

Competitive Agreements Will Keep U.S. Commercial Space Program on Track

NASA announced on Dec. 15 a modified competitive procurement strategy to keep on track the agency's plan to have U.S. companies transport American astronauts into space instead of outsourcing this work to foreign governments.

Instead of awarding contracts for the next phase of the Commercial Crew Program, the agency plans to use multiple, competitively awarded Space Act Agreements. Using competitive Space Act Agreements instead of contracts will allow NASA to maintain a larger number of partners during this phase of the program, with the flexibility to adjust technical direction, milestones and funding.

This flexibility is important during a period of high budget uncertainty when NASA is receiving less funding than President Obama requested for the agency's commercial space program.

"NASA is committed to ensuring that U.S. companies are sending American astronauts into space," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "This new acquisition strategy will allow us to preserve competition as we maintain our momentum to provide a U.S.-based commercial crew launch capability at the earliest possible time."

This competitive Space Act solicitation is separate from the work being carried out under existing Space Act Agreements. The new competition will focus on an overall system design rather than single technology activities. Details on the new competition will be available in January.

The announcement for proposals is expected in the first quarter of 2012. These competitively awarded Space Acts will be followed by a competitively awarded contract for the certification phase. The certification phase will ensure that the designs fully meet the safety and performance requirements for NASA utilization.

See here for discussion of NASA's commercial crew development program.

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