"Save the Date of May 24 and 25 for NASA's Commercial Crew Program Requirements Workshop. The workshop purpose is to introduce the Commercial Crew Program's requirement set and to discuss the key features of each of the documents. The workshop location will be near Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Details concerning the requirement set, workshop agenda/location, and registration information will be posted within 2 weeks."
Commercialization: April 2011 Archives
"A major goal of the Hosted Payload Alliance is to serve as a bridge between government and private industry to foster an open dialogue between potential users and providers of hosted payload capabilities," said Don Thoma, chairman of the HPA Steering Committee. "The fact that we brought together such a large and diverse group of attendees for the first general meeting of the Alliance is a clear validation of the need for this sort of forum."
Keith's note: A new SpaceX Commercial Crew video shows Dragon landing - on Mars.
As President Obama Marks Final Launch of Endeavour, Nation Looks to Commercial Space for the Future, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
"John Gedmark concluded, "We'll finally be able to realize the sci-fi future people have been dreaming about, one that inspired an entire generation of dreamers and innovators. People are again imagining a future like we saw in the landmark film '2001: A Space Odyssey', where private spacecraft offered frequent flights into space. This is going to be one of the most exciting stories of the 21st century, and we are just at the beginning of that story."
"NASA will host a media briefing at 11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 28, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to highlight the four companies selected for the second round of the agency's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2) efforts."
Keith's note: NASA will host a media briefing at 11 a.m. EDT Thursday. The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. Tweets from CSF can be found at @csf_spaceflight
"This notice is issued by the NASA/DFRC to post a draft RFP via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition."
"HAMPTON, Va. - Flying somewhere and want to find out your exposure to galactic and solar radiation? A new update to an iPhone app will let you do that. The $1.99 "Space Wx" app provides real-time information about exposure to radiation from solar activity and other sources from space, starting at an altitude of 16,000 feet (5). Exposure levels are broken down by altitude and latitude, with the highest exposures typically occurring higher and farther north."
Keith's note: Typical PAO goofiness: issue a press release about an iPhone app - but forget to provide a link to the app so people can actually use it. What has me puzzled is why this NASA press release says that they are charging $1.99 for this app when all other NASA apps are free. Didn't taxpayers already pay for this app? Or wait - is this a government advertisement for a commercial product? Doubly confused.
"Russian news agencies are quoting a top space official as saying Russia won't permit a U.S. commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station until it is satisfied the ship conforms to safety standards. The California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has asked NASA for permission to send an unmanned cargo capsule to the space station later this year. The hookup also would need Russian clearance."
Keith's note: What a great way to continue a monopoly on access to the ISS. Curiously, the "digital" Soyuz was allowed to dock despite its ongoing problems.
"We need your vote! The annual Spirit of Innovation Awards is kicking off a two-week People's Choice competition (http://www.conradawards.org/competition) that challenges high school students to solve real-world problems by creating commercially viable science and technology based products. 27 teams of high school students have created unique inventions in the categories of aerospace exploration, clean energy, and cyber security. From Space Sleeping Pods to Solar Wind Power Generators to Parabolic Stoves and mobile apps that signal for help during times of duress, the 2011 Spirit of Innovation Awards high school student competitors have risen to the challenge and need your vote."
"Blue Origin is developing a Crew Transportation System, comprised of a Space Vehicle (SV) launched first on an Atlas V launch vehicle and then on Blue Origin's own Reusable Booster System (RES). NASA funding through CCDev 2 and the future Commercial Crew program will accelerate availability of the Blue Origin CTS. The biconic Space Vehicle will be capable of carrying seven astronauts and will transfer NASA crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS), serve as an ISS emergency escape vehicle for up to 210 days, and perform a land landing to minimize the costs of recovery and reuse. It will also conduct separate commercial missions for science research, private adventure, and travel to other LEO destinations."
"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"
All four Space Act Agreements will be available later today at http://procurement.ksc.nasa.gov
Keith's note: What has me puzzled is the posting of this document (Original PDF) at http://procurement.ksc.nasa.gov. Then it disappeared an hour or so later. There are no proprietary or competition sensitve markings whatsoever on the document, so I have to assume it was OK for this to be posted online, right?
China Great Wall Confounded By SpaceX Prices, Aviation Week
"[Lei Fanpei, vice president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CAST)] did not take questions, and declined an interview request. But colleagues from China Great Wall, the marketing arm of CAST, say they are opening a one-person office in Washington this summer to push Chinese space products, including solar arrays. Declining to speak for attribution, the Chinese officials say they find the published prices on the SpaceX website very low for the services offered, and concede they could not match them with the Long March series of launch vehicles even if it were possible for them to launch satellites with U.S. components in them."
"Sect. 403 (2) COMMERCIAL MARKET ASSESSMENT. Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress an assessment, conducted, in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation, for purposes of this paragraph, of the potential non-Government market for commercially-developed crew and cargo transportation systems and capabilities, including an assessment of the activities associated with potential private sector utilization of the ISS research and technology development capabilities and other potential activities in low-Earth orbit."
Keith's note: This report was due to be delivered to Congress more than a week ago.
"The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce that Rear Admiral Craig E. Steidle (U.S. Navy, Ret.) has been named as President, effective May 15. Admiral Steidle was approved for the position by a unanimous vote of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation's board of directors and will serve full-time in this capacity working from the organization's headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C."
"The commercial space industry truly represents the future of America in space, and I'm excited to be a part of it," Steidle said. "This industry is inspiring kids, keeping America economically competitive, creating thousands of jobs, and ensuring our leadership in space. It is a privilege to lead the Federation as we embark on the grandest adventure of the 21st century: opening up space to everyone."
Keith's note: Quite honestly, CSF probably could have done a better job explaining Craig Steidle's selection and the importance thereof. If you check the comments section of this post and you will see that Jim Muncy makes that case quiet eloquently.
"Hutchison also said NASA's 2012 budget includes too much money for commercial crew initiatives. NASA is seeking $850 million to seed development of privately developed spacecraft and rockets capable of transporting astronauts to the international space station. "While I know the commercial companies will eventually become successful I do not feel that the information now available justifies such a large investment of federal dollars for commercial vehicles," Hutchison said."
"The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the industry association of leading businesses and organizations working to make commercial human spaceflight a reality, will be making a major announcement on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, the day after the 50th anniversary celebration of the world's first human spaceflight in 1961. Following the announcement, a press availability will be held at 1:30 pm Mountain Time at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Representatives of the media onsite in Colorado Springs are invited join us at Symposium Media Center Press Room #1, on the 2nd floor of the Exhibit Center."
"At a recent workshop on lunar return, a critical part of the discussion focused on the need for a statement of purpose - a value proposition for the Moon. Over the years I've attempted to distill my rationale for lunar return (my "elevator speech" if you will) into a clearly stated and persuasive argument about the need for enabling human reach beyond low Earth orbit - into all the areas between Earth and Moon (cislunar space) where all of our satellite assets reside. So, as the elevator doors are closing, I will state my Rationale for Cislunar Space:"
Keith's 5 April note: Word has it there is going to be a CCDev-2 announcement by NASA on Wednesday, 6 April. If so, where is the media advisory?
Keith's 6 April update: Industry sources are reporting that they have been given semi-official tip that no one is going to get a heads up phone calls from NASA in advance of the CCDev 2 announcement - whenever that happens. This is somewhat of a departure from the way this is normally done.
"Update for 11 a.m. ET April 7: The CCDev2 announcement has been delayed indefinitely, apparently because of the continuing back-and-forth over the federal budget, according to John Elbon, vice president and program manager for commercial crew programs at the Boeing Co."
"EADS North America today announced that it has further integrated and expanded the company's Space and related product activities in the U.S., supporting government agencies, private sector customers and academia. The line of business (LOB) will be led by John Schumacher, who will serve as Vice President, Space line of business. "John Schumacher brings decades of demonstrated leadership in developing and growing world-class cooperative programs in Space-based research, exploration, human Space flight, and communications, as well as formulating government policy related to this key area of aerospace and defense," said Sean O'Keefe, CEO of EADS North America."
"At the cost of $5.5 million, the Agilent technology campus could soon have dozens of companies working to turn thousands of NASA patents into products. They are jobs the mayor of Loveland says the town welcomes. "These are the kind of jobs that are good paying jobs and the kind of jobs you can raise your family on," Mayor Cecil Gutierrez said. The Federal Space Act agreement calls for the creation of the park. It also calls for NASA to partner with a nonprofit designed to strengthen Colorado's clean energy industry, a group known as CAMT (Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology)."
CAMT: Loveland's Agilent campus not a done deal for ACE park, TimesCall.com
"The Aerospace Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Park is a joint effort by NASA and the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology. CAMT and the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. are partnering to select sites for the park. One, an existing facility for a portion of the park and the other, a "greenfield" site where new facilities will be built. Various news reports Tuesday stated that the former Agilent site in Loveland had been chosen as the location for the existing facility portion of the park. CAMT issued a statement Wednesday morning contradicting those reports."
"This is incredible potential for Loveland and Northern Colorado," said Gutierrez. Betsey Hale of Loveland said it's anticipated 10,000 jobs will come to the state as a result of this venture. Hale said up to about 100 companies could move in to the business campus."
Loveland officials: ACE will take time but will bring revenue, Loveland Connection
"The park, which will house up to 100 clean energy and aerospace companies, could create 7,000 primary employment jobs regionally and 10,000 statewide within five years, Cahill said. Businesses in the park will have access to a NASA innovation official and resources such as education and shared services to assist in faster product development, according to an informational sheet about the program."
ACE deal not final yet, NOCO5news
"The long-vacant Agilent Technologies, Inc. campus in Loveland has been selected as the preferred site for ACE. However, during a press conference Thursday, Loveland city officials stressed that negotiations have yet to take place to finalize the deal."
U.S. mustn't give up on space, Opinion, Gerry Griffin, USA Today
"Going forward, commercial space companies and NASA must be considered partners, not competitors, in the U.S. human spaceflight enterprise. NASA's plan to support commercial spaceflight would significantly strengthen the agency's chances to have humans explore beyond Earth orbit once again. Human spaceflight to and from Earth orbit provided by commercial companies would enable NASA to focus more of its energies and very constrained budget on exploration beyond Earth's orbit. Today, it will be better, even necessary, to have NASA focus its tight resources on preparing to send astronauts ultimately to destinations such as Mars."
"Today, Elon Musk, CEO and chief rocket designer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) unveiled the dramatic final specifications and launch date for the Falcon Heavy, the world's largest rocket. "Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo program. This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions," Musk told a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC."
The Moon-Rush is on and Dr. Barney Pell, well known Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former NASA R&D Manager, has joined the race. As Co-Founder, Vice-Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Moon Express, Inc., Barney believes very strongly in the economic potential the Moon. "The Moon is Earth's eight continent," he said. "We have barely begun to explore the lunar surface and are already finding compelling evidence of resources that are very important to Earth."
"Naveen Jain shared with colleagues at the annual Explorers Club Awards Dinner in New York that he is Co-Founder and Chairman of Moon Express, Inc., winner of a $10M NASA commercial lunar contract and a leading contender for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. Why is Naveen reaching for the Moon? He explained, This is an extremely exciting project as Moon exploration is vital to solving Earth's present and future resource problems."
"Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 5th at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss his company's latest venture."
Keith's 31 March note: SpaceX justed tweeted "Something big is coming www.spacex.com". If you go to their website you see that the big day is 5 April 2011 ...
Summary of Financial Feasibility
Given current assumptions
- Development + 10 years of operations may cost NASA $10B to $20B for one viable commercial crew provider
- Domestic commercial crew launch capability may result in prices per seat 2 to 3 times that of foreign based alternative access options
- Due to the fixed and variable nature of space launch operations 2 viable CC
Summary of a Reliability Based Acquisition Analysis
- Completely commercial service is difficult to envision in the near-term given expected CS requirement
- LV offers most flexibility for choosing a commercial-like development approach within CC Program
- Parallel government / commercial efforts may allow near-term assured domestic capability, as well as "maturation ramp" for longer-term, commercially-provided crew launch services
Keith's note: This report (as is described by these charts briefed to Bolden) was clearly written by people who did not want to provide NASA with a positive answer with regard to space commercialization as it relates to crew transport. The underlying assumption seems to be that all involved are starting from scratch with no experience base whatsoever. That is simply not true.
"In conclusion, any model that does not make use of appropriate assumptions or real-world data will be of limited use. Given that the commercial spaceflight industry finds many of the model inputs, assumptions and assertions in the white paper to be incorrect or inaccurate, no findings or conclusions from the white paper's analysis should be considered accurate or of significance in any real-world setting without significant further review and industry input."
Canceled NASA rocket resurfaces in private bid for tax dollars, Orlando Sentinel
"It's like the Dukes of Hazzard. They paint up an old car to make it look faster, but it's the same rocket," said Keith Cowing, editor of the watchdog site NASA Watch. "I'm glad they are trying to use this [Ares I] technology, but shouldn't taxpayers be getting a percentage of the profit? ... "It's a thinly-veiled attempt to profit at the expense of the taxpayers," said Rick Tumlinson, a co-founder of the Space Frontier Foundation and longtime advocate of commercial space travel. "What ATK is trying to do is put the taxpayers' skin in the game and act as if it's their own." ... When asked about this arrangement, ATK officials did not directly address questions about the tax dollars the company has received to build Ares I."
- ATK (Apparently) Does Not Need NASA Money For Liberty [Update], earlier post
- ATK Was Against Commercial Crew - Before It Was For it., earlier post
- ATK Wants To Sell NASA a Recycled Ares 1, earlier post
- Nickname for Liberty, earlier post
Keith's note: What baffles me is how ATK can claim that this rocket will be ready 2 years earlier than Ares 1 would have been - for less money. Why didn't they offer that option to NASA before Ares 1 was cancelled?
Keith's note: This press release was sent to me by an organization that I have featured before. Had I read the entire thing very carefully - at the bottom - I would have seen that it was an April Fool's joke. My apologies for not performing due diligence.