Commercialization: February 2008 Archives

NASA JSC Solicitation: ISS Commercial Resupply Services

"NASA/JSC plans to issue an RFP for the following Commercial item/services: cargo upmass, disposal and return to and from the International Space Station, nonstandard services and special studies as defined in the Statement of Work."

NASA Solicitation: Constellation Program Ground Processing Services

"The purpose of this notice is to apprise interested parties of the current planning schedule for competition of the Constellation (Cx) ground processing, provide high level information on the potential requirements, acquisition approach, and solicit industry input."

NASA: Cross-Waiver of Liability: Final rule

"SUMMARY: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is amending its regulations which provide the regulatory basis for cross- waiver provisions used in the following two categories of NASA agreements: agreements for International Space Station (ISS) activities pursuant to the ``Agreement Among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Government of the United States of America concerning Cooperation on the Civil International Space Station'' (commonly referred to as the ISS Intergovernmental Agreement, or IGA); and launch agreements for science or space exploration activities unrelated to the ISS."

Blue Origin Buys Texas Ranch as Launch Site, SpaceRef

"According to sources, Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin has reportedly bought a 32,000 acre ranch a few miles north of Sierra Blanca, Texas to use as a launch site."

NASA GRC Solicitation: Configuration Support for the United Kingdom Disaster Monitoring Constellation Satellites

"NASA/GRC intends to utilize the services of Surrey Satellite Technology, Ltd. (SSTL). The United Kingdom (UK) DMC is the only spacecraft with an Internet Protocol (IP) router onboard-the Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit (CLEO). SSTL is the sole provider of IP compliant satellites that NASA can utilize to perform delay/disruption tolerant networking (DTN) research. NASA has already obtained licenses to transmit and receive at the DMC satellite frequencies required for the satellite ground station support."

Editor's note: How sad (and utterly uncreative) that the only place i.e. "sole source" that Mike Griffin can find this on-orbit functionality - one using U.S. developed software/hardware - is from an offshore provider. Someone sure dropped the ball on this one.

Orbital Wins COTS Funding

Editor's update: According to NASA's Doug Cooke the winning proposal of the COTS-1 re-competition is worth $170 million. 13 companies competed and submitted proposals in November 2007.

Results of the review were presented to Cooke last Thursday. The Space Act Agreement will be made with Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC).

OSC is looking to develop an new medium class launch vehicle they call the Taurus II. The first stage will use LOX/Kerosine liquid fuel using Aerojet engines. ATK would develop the Castor-derived solid fueled second stage.

The COTS Visiting Vehicle would be the payload - and will have variants that can deliver pressurized cargo using a MPLM derivative developed by Alenia or unpressurized cargo using a derivative of the Express Logistics Carrier being designed and developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for use on the ISS.

The OSC proposal mentions possible crewed missions but did not formally propose that option. OSC will be using DART and Orbital Express hardware and experience in the design of their proximity and operations concepts.

OSC plans to launch the Taurus II COTS flights from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

NASA's Ames Enables Commercial Weightless Aircraft Flights

"Commercial, weightless flights will be offered this weekend at Moffett Field, Calif., under the terms of an agreement with the Zero Gravity Corp, Las Vegas. Although corporation officials said the first flight scheduled Saturday, Feb. 16 is already sold out, additional flights will be scheduled later this year."

CBS NEWS STS-122 STATUS REPORT: 48 (Scroll Down)

"Q: [HARWOOD] On a different topic, the Ares rocket and the Constellation program continue to generate questions among outside observers as to viability of the rocket system, due to vibration and other issues, and the overall architecture of the moon program. Why is that?

A: [GRIFFIN] Let me get down to the bottom of it. There were winners and losers in the contractor community as to who was going to get to do what on the next system post shuttle. And we didn't pick (Lockheed Martin's) Atlas 5, in consultation with the Air Force for that matter, because it wasn't the right vehicle for the lunar job. Obviously, we did pick others. So people who didn't get picked see an opportunity to throw the issue into controversy and maybe have it come out their way.

Griffin: Sore Losers Conspire to Undo NASA's Ares 1, Orlando Sentinel Write Stuff Blog

"This is not so much an argument that people are having with NASA, and it's not about the Constellation architecture. It's about winning contractors versus losing contractors, and losing contractors spotting an opportunity coincident with an election year to reopen what was a settled issue three years ago," Griffin said. A prolonged fight, he added, could be a disaster for America's civil space program."

Critics say NASA's new rocket Ares, which is to take astronauts to the moon, is flawed, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA argues that the Atlas V as it stands is not robust enough to lift its 25-ton Orion crew capsule into space. Nonetheless, the news that entrepreneurs intend to employ an off-the-shelf rocket -- one that NASA rejected as being too expensive and unsafe to modify for its purposes -- was immediately seized on by Ares I critics. James Muncy, a Virginia-based space-policy consultant, said Bigelow's move means that commercial operators are going to be putting people into orbit years before NASA finishes developing Ares I. "That's great news for Americans worried about a gap in human spaceflight, but it could undercut some of the rationale for NASA's rocket plans." ... "The developments are worrying John Logsdon, the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, who is concerned that the criticism of Ares I -- some legitimate, some driven by ego and profit -- could end up destroying Constellation and with it the first new vision of space exploration in 35 years. "It's not a bad plan," he said, "We just need to adjust it some."

Editor's note: Oh, so now Lockheed Martin is to blame for Ares/Constellation woes, eh Mike? Isn't it curious that Lockheed Martin seems to have had much more success (on its own) countering the technical issues that NASA felt that it could not surmount (with regard to the Atlas V and human rating) when Lockheed Martin used their own money to do so - with market potential as a key motivator? What is it that Lockheed Martin sees that Mike Griffin has missed?

NASA May Buy Russian Transport Services, AP

"NASA hinted that it might rely on Russian rockets to deliver crew and cargo to the international space station when the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010 if private space companies fail to fill the gap."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from February 2008.

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