Commercialization: August 2012 Archives

NASA Administrator Announces New Commercial Crew And Cargo Milestones

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced Thursday new milestones in the nation's commercial space initiatives from the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The latest advances made by NASA's commercial space partners pave the way for the first contracted flight of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) this fall and mark progress toward a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next 5 years."

Keith's note: There has been no mention of this overtly commercial event by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. No mention of XCOR's big announcement either. CSF certainly isn't paying much attention to commercial space these days.

NASA JSC Award: Open Innovation Support Services for a Consortium Network Builder Platform Provider

Keith's note: This JSC award has been given to YET2.COM Inc. for a contract not to exceed $2,700,000. No description whatsoever is given by JSC as to what this money will be used for. Having been to some NASA and OSTP open innovation-themed workshops, I have an 'idea' what this might be for. A quick Google search turns this up - but it does not speak to what this award is for. As I noted last week with regard to this other sparsely detailed (and inaccurate) JSC award, what baffles me is why JSC - and other parts of NASA - seem to be totally uninterested in providing taxpayers with even the barest rudiments of a description - an abstract or summary - as to what their tax dollars are being spent on.

JSC PAO has been working the earlier issue and told me last week that I am supposed to get something any day now - but I haven't gotten a response back on my earlier request. See NASA Contract Award to Resources for the Future: Measuring Research Performance in Space Station Research (redacted copy). What is somehwat funny about this is that that this award seems to have something to do with making NASA more open and accessible to ideas from outside parties - yet the agency has gone out of its way to be anything but open about the process of obtaining such services.

- Cryptic Space Station Procurement From JSC, earlier post

XCOR to establish operations and manufacturing base in Florida

"Plans call for XCOR to commence initial operations from a Florida location in 2014 when they plan on bringing the Lynx Mark I prototype for demonstration and pathfinder flights. This will be followed by the basing of a Lynx Mark II production vehicle in Florida, and eventually production of Lynx vehicles and other XCOR products should market demand materialize and the emerging commercial space industry maintain its current momentum."

Keith's note: This event has been known about for weeks. Does the Commercial Spaceflight Federation make any advance mention of this important event for one of its members - or note today's announcement? No. No mention of Bolden's media event on commercial space either.

CASIS Announces Upcoming Requests for Proposals in Materials Science and Earth Observational Science

"The ISS National Lab supports a variety of platforms to exploit the space environment in the development and testing of new materials for both commercial and academic investigators. Through these solicitations, CASIS continues in its mission to promote the full utilization of the ISS. ... This RFP will utilize the NanoRacks External Platform."

NanoRacks Announcement of Opportunity-1: Building a NanoLab Community for Space Station Users

"NanoRacks, the leading company in low-earth orbit research and educational utilization, seeks to further stimulate the market for International Space Station usage by offering to designate and promote up to five (5) companies that can offer for retail sale NanoLabs for use in NanoRacks hardware now on the space station and on suborbital platforms."

Keith's note: CASIS makes a big deal out of its agreement with Nanoracks - but they don't seem to be interested in making any mention of this Nanoracks Announcement of Opportunity utilizing the ISS. Baffling - especially given the bundle of money CASIS gave Nanoracks.

NASA Administrator to Announce Commercial Space Progress During Media Availability at Kennedy Space Center Aug. 23

"Media are invited to an interview availability and facilities tour with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden at noon EDT, Thursday, Aug. 23, at various locations in and around the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the media tour, Bolden will detail recent progress related to NASA's commercial spaceflight initiatives."

XCOR Aerospace Announces Operations and Manufacturing Base in Florida

"XCOR Aerospace will announce details regarding its intent to establish a manufacturing and assembly center for XCOR Lynx Mark II suborbital reusable launch vehicles on Florida's Space Coast. ... Astronaut Encounter Theater Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex"

Keith's note: Charlie Bolden will be all over KSC on the same day - talking up space commerce - but he is not listed as a participant in the XCOR announcement. Strange.

Keith's update: Jim Muncy, XCOR etc. seem to disagree with what I have posted. OK, then why is Charlie Bolden's chief of staff listed as a participant in the XCOR event - and not Bolden himself? Given the respective positions of the others on the agenda Bolden's absence is puzzling.

Enabling Support Equipment and Services for International Space Station as a National Lab

Keith's 16 Aug 4:30 pm update: NASA JSC re-released the Award notice. It now says "Classification Code: 16 -- Aircraft components and accessories; NAICS Code: 541712 - Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)" but it still lists the award recipient as being "Research for the Future Inc., 1616 P ST NW, Washington, DC 20036-1400" even though the awardee is actually "Resources for the Future" located at that street address. I guess the name of the company isn't important in NASA awards.

Earlier posts below.

USAF Support For ULA Is Scrutinized, Aviation Week

The chairman and the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence even go so far in an Aug. 2 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as to call the Air Force's launch capability contract with ULA--worth billions of dollars annually to pay for the launch workers and support engineers--an "infrastructure subsidy."

EELV: DOD Is Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Its New Acquisition Strategy (Reissued with corrections)

This report was revised on August 13, 2012, to correct text regarding the space sector survey on page 10.

- GAO on DOD EELV Acqusition, earlier post
- GAO: EELV: DOD Needs to Ensure New Acquisition Strategy Is Based on Sufficient Information, earlier post

NASA's Infrastructure and Facilities: Assessment of Agency's Real Property Leasing Practices

"Specifically, we found that NASA did not have clear guidance to ensure that property identified for leasing had a current or future mission use; lacked a complete inventory of space available for lease as well as an effective marketing program to attract potential tenants; lacked internal controls to ensure that its leases provide the best value to NASA and are fair to potential partners; and did not have guidance to ensure that in kind consideration that it accepts as part of a leasing arrangement benefits NASA."

NASA to Announce New Agreements for Next Phase of Commercial Crew Development

"NASA will issue a news release to announce new agreements with industry partners for its Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative at 9 a.m. EDT, Friday, Aug. 3. At 10 a.m. NASA will host a news briefing from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website. NASA also will host a follow-up teleconference for media representatives with detailed questions at 10:45 a.m., immediately following the briefing."

Slides being discussed during media telecon.

NASA Announces Next Steps in Effort to Launch Americans From U.S. Soil

"NASA Friday announced new agreements with three American commercial companies to design and develop the next generation of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities, enabling a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years. Advances made by these companies under newly signed Space Act Agreements through the agency's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are intended to ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for government and commercial customers.

CCiCap partners are:

-- Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colo., $212.5 million
-- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, Calif., $440 million
-- The Boeing Company, Houston, $460 million"

Futron Releases 2012 Space Competitiveness IndexFutron Releases 2012 Space Competitiveness Index, Commercial Space Watch

"Futron has released its 2012 Space Competitiveness Index marking the 5th anniversary of the yearly publication. According to the report, the United States remains the overall leader in space competitiveness but is seeing a decline for the 5th year in a row. The decline is attributed to enhanced capabilities in other countries while the U.S. is undergoing a transition with 'significant' uncertainty. New to the index this year are emerging space nations Argentina, Australia, Iran, South Africa and the Ukraine."

Report of Investigation into Allegations that Members of a NASA-Supervised Advisory Committee Violated Federal Conflict of Interest Laws

"In summary, after reviewing hundreds of documents and interviewing more than 20 witnesses, the OIG found that by co-signing the letter to the FCC Parkinson improperly participated in a particular matter that had a direct and predictable effect on his financial interest. Parkinson's conflict resulted from his status as a stockholder and board member of Trimble Navigation Limited (Trimble), a California manufacturer of precision-GPS devices that helped form a coalition of GPS makers and users to block the LightSquared plan. However, we also determined that Parkinson's actions were not motivated by a financial interest but rather appeared to be driven by his desire to protect a critical national resource he had helped create."

Hearing Charter

"The introduction of new commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles (SRVs) in the private sector has enabled the emergence of new markets. A number of these new companies are already testing their vehicles and plan to initiate commercial operations within a few years. This hearing will examine the potential launch markets and applications for SRVs, the unique benefits that SRVs offer the scientific community for research, and the regulatory uncertainties that currently have the most impact on the emerging commercial SRV industry."

Witness statements: Carissa Christensen, Alan Stern, George Whitesides, Bretton Alexander, Andrew Nelson, Stephan R. McCandliss



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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from August 2012.

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