Commercialization: February 2007 Archives

Exclusive: Sealaunch Odyssey Returns Home, Dethroner

"A couple of weeks ago a rocket exploded on the pad at the Sealaunch facility in the Pacific. I wrote a short overview for Popular Mechanics, but wasnt able to secure the one thing I really wanted: pictures of the Odyssey launch platform after the explosion. Sealaunch told me they would likely never release images of the post-incident Odyssey launch platform."

Bigelow Shoots for the Moon, MSNBC

"In an exclusive interview this week, Las Vegas billionaire Robert Bigelow confirmed that his company has been talking about the concept with NASA and that the first earthly tests of the techniques involved would take place later this year. The scenario he sketched out would essentially make Bigelow ageneral contractor for the final frontier."

NASA MSFC Solicitation: Ares 1 Upper Stage Production

"NASA will conduct a single overview session with Industry on March 6, 2007. This session will be held with the declared Upper Stage Production potential Prime Contractor Teams who previously responded to the Notice of Intent and also attended the one-on-ones at the presolicitation conference. Industry participation shall be limited to five persons per team. The content of this session is for the Government to present a demonstration of the cost volume spreadsheets. Any questions and answers will be processed as stated in the Final RFP."

NASA GRC: Microgravity Aircraft Services: Draft Solicitation

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) currently provides reduced gravity flight services using NASA owned and operated aircraft. NASA will begin acquiring Reduced Gravity Aircraft services through outside sources."

Editor's note: The more I read the documents associated with this draft solicitation, the more convinced I am that the NASA civil servants who wrote this procurement are going out of their way to make it hard - if not impossible for a private contractor to meet these requirements. In so doing they serve to safeguard NASA's current monopoly. It is no secret that the folks at JSC see the operation of their reduced gravity airplane as a God-given right (or at least one handed down by George Abbey) - one they will not easily give up.

NASA Provides Additional Information on Agreement With Virgin Galactic (With MOU Text)

"NASA officials signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with a U.S. company, Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound. The memorandum is only a framework to explore potential collaborations. It does not include training of NASA astronauts, an agreement to buy seats on a Virgin Galactic flight, or provision of technical advice by NASA to Virgin Galactic."

NASA, Virgin Galactic to Explore Future cooperation

"NASA officials signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with a U.S. company, Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound. Under the terms of the memorandum, NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, and Virgin Galactic LLC, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will explore possible collaborations in several technical areas employing capabilities and facilities of NASA's Ames Research Center."

Space trip deal with NASA, The Sun

"Virgin Galactica (VG) President Will Whitehorn confirmed the company had signed a co-operation deal with Nasa at midnight."

Editor's note: Gee, they can't even get the name of one of their country's more prominent and newsgrabbing business ventures correct. ("Galactica" is a TV show). Then again. what can you expect - this "newspaper" posts pictures of naked women everyday.

Virgin Galactic to train Nasa astronauts, Telegraph

"Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company set up by Sir Richard Branson, has signed a deal to help train Nasa astronauts. In return Nasa will offer technical advice to the pioneering firm, which hopes to send its first customers into space in 2008."

Editor's note: Wrong again, mates: According to NASA "The memorandum is only a framework to explore potential collaborations. It does not include training of NASA astronauts, an agreement to buy seats on a Virgin Galactic flight, or provision of technical advice by NASA to Virgin Galactic."

Spacehab Dismisses RDM Claim With NASA

"SPACEHAB, Incorporated, a leading provider of commercial space services, today announced that the Company has filed for a formal dismissal with prejudice of all litigation against NASA relating to losses incurred by SPACEHAB as a result of the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident. In January 2004 the Company initiated a formal proceeding against NASA in which the Company was seeking damages in the amount of $87.7 million for the loss of its Research Double Module (RDM) as a result of the Columbia accident."

GAO: NASA's Management of its Contractor Award Fees Needs to be Improved, House Science and Technology Committee

"Given NASA's dependence on cost-plus-award-fee contracts, I'm concerned that GAO's investigation found that NASA has failed to follow its own long-standing guidelines governing award fees," stated Chairman Gordon in response to the GAO findings. "While there can be mitigating factors, I don't think it makes sense for contractors to receive a majority of the allowable award fee if they don't meet the contract's cost, schedule, or performance requirements. I want to make sure NASA is using taxpayer dollars as wisely and efficiently as possible."

NASA Procurement: Use of Award Fees for Achieving Program Outcomes Should Be Improved GAO-07-58, January 17, 2007

"NASA officials expressed satisfaction with the results of the contracts we reviewed, and this was further evidenced by the extent of fee paid. NASA's satisfaction was based on its evaluations of contractor performance against criteria established in the award-fee plan. While NASA's evaluations would indicate generally good contractor performance, that performance did not always translate into desired program outcomes. That disconnect raises questions as to the extent NASA is achieving the effectiveness it sought through the establishment of guidance on the use of award fees."

Louisiana, NASA look at ways to collaborate, AP

"Louisiana and NASA officials committed Thursday to wide-ranging discussions on ways to expand research and development at the space agency's Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans. State economic development leaders hope the agreement will help spur rebuilding and job growth in an area struggling to recover after Hurricane Katrina, while retaining 2,000 jobs at Michoud."

Honeymoon in Space

First Couple to Honeymoon in Space on Virgin Galactic - Launch Spacelove.org Website

"Loretta and George Whitesides, the first couple to honeymoon in space, launched a new website on Valentine's Day to share the excitement of their upcoming adventure with the public. Loretta and George are two of 100 Virgin Galactic 'Founders'- the people who have paid in full to be the first to fly on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Spaceline. The Space Love website will document the preparation and lead-up to the flight, and include suggestions for others who wish to celebrate their own honeymoons, anniversaries or even weddings in space."

Charles in Space

Microsoft Word Inventor Shares His Outer-Space Adventure on www.charlesinspace.com, Space Adventures

"Dr. Charles Simonyi's site, was created to further advance his three space mission objectives: to advance civilian space flight, assist in space station research, and involve the world's youth in the science of space travel. ... From training to landing, Dr. Simonyi is dedicated to making the experience as tangible as possible. He considers his flight to be one more step in the inevitable progression towards civilian space travel. "

Anousheh's Story

Anousheh Ansari Teams up with Best-Selling Author Homer Hickam to Describe the Wonders of Space and Its Deep Impact on Her Life

"The world's first private female space explorer, Anousheh Ansari is writing a memoir of her life experiences with the assistance of Homer Hickam, author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller "Rocket Boys," which was made into the critically acclaimed movie "October Sky. "Homer and I share a deep love of space, as well as a passion for educating people about the importance of space in solving problems here on Earth," said Ansari, who plans to donate her proceeds from the book to charity"

Commercial Space Transportation Capabilities Agreements Signed

"On Wednesday, NASA agreed to cooperate with PlanetSpace Inc. of Chicago and Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space) of Reston, Va., to facilitate the commercialization of low-Earth orbit as they develop capabilities to transport goods and people to orbital destinations. The non-reimbursable Space Act agreements signed by NASA and the two companies involve no agency funding to the companies. The pacts establish milestones and objective criteria by which the companies can gauge their own progress, as part of the agency's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from February 2007.

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