Commercialization: September 2012 Archives

Final Report: NASA's Challenges to Meeting Cost, Schedule, and Performance Goals, NASA OIG

"Cost increases and schedule delays on NASA's projects are long-standing issues for the Agency. A 2004 Congressional Budget Office study compared the initial and revised budgets of 72 NASA projects between 1977 and 2000. The initial budgets for these projects totaled $41.1 billion, while their revised budgets totaled $66.3 billion, a 61 percent increase. Moreover, since its first annual assessment of NASA projects in 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has consistently reported on cost growth and schedule delays in the Agency's major projects. For example, in its 2012 assessment GAO reported an average development cost growth of approximately 47 percent, or $315 million, much of which was attributable to JWST. As GAO noted, cost and schedule increases on large projects like JWST can have a cascading effect on NASA's entire portfolio."

NASA learns the dark side of a sunny outlook, Federal Computer Week

"Then the IG noted the "Hubble Psychology." The report defined it as "an expectation among NASA personnel that projects that fail to meet cost and schedule goals will receive additional funding and that subsequent scientific and technological success will overshadow any budgetary and schedule problems." In other words, NASA officials believe that major NASA projects will get funding for science's sake, despite how the projects are managed. The Hubble Space Telescope is one major project that exemplifies the risks of optimism in the report. The program has had its problems, but they have been mostly forgotten, the IG wrote."

SMARTCAP: Funding medical products for use on Earth and in space

"Do you know of a small company developing a medical product that could be adapted to solve a health or human performance challenge in space? Have you developed a biomedical product for the space program that could also improve health on Earth? The National Space Biomedical Research Institute's Industry Forum is soliciting applications for the Space Medicine and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) award that provides support in moving a selected product toward commercialization. The 2013 SMARTCAP award will be for a maximum of $250,000 for a one-year period."

B612 Foundation Receives New Funding and Strategic Support From Prominent Leaders in Business, Entertainment, Science and Technology

"The world's first privately funded deep space mission - SENTINEL - received major support this week from prominent members of the business and financial community who joined the B612 Foundation's Founding Circle. In June, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission, a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of asteroid discovery and mapping. This premier scientific instrument not only will provide millions of asteroid discoveries, but also help us prevent a major asteroid impact on Earth. Sentinel will detect and track asteroids accurately enough to give decades of warning of impending impacts to allow humanity to easily deflect threatening asteroids using existing technology."

Hearing Charter

"NASA cannot exercise the same level of insight it normally has in other technology development efforts. NASA has not been able to credibly estimate the expected total cost to certify the companies' designs, or the cost to buy launch services."

Ralph Hall, statement

"If our nation is going to ask crews to explore space, it is our responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that those astronauts return to Earth safely. I'm not convinced this approach is the right one but I'm willing to listen."

Witnesses Say NASA Must Have Expanded Role in Ensuring Astronaut Safety as Commercial Spaceflight Capabilities Develop, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

"Vice Admiral Joseph W. Dyer, USN (Ret.), Chairman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, expressed significant concerns with NASA's proposed plans. Since the U.S. government will not own the vehicles, the designs, or the intellectual property, NASA cannot exercise the same level of insight it normally has in other technology development efforts. Admiral Dyer told Committee Members that NASA's, "current acquisition approach--commercial transportation system development that is funded under a space act agreement concurrent with certification that is funded under a federal acquisition regulation-based contract--is complex and unique. In our opinion, this approach is a workaround for the requirements and communications challenges implicit to the space act agreements."

Committee Democrats Raise Concerns about NASA's Commercial Crew Program

"In response to Mr. Gerstenmaier's comments that NASA is "hoping" to get the funding level ($525 million) in the Senate appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013, as well as get the President's request level of about $830 million per year in fiscal year 2014 and beyond, Ms. Edwards said, "I strongly suggest, especially in this [current funding] environment, to pin an estimate of completion of an activity based on a 'hope' [for full funding], will be a real challenge, I think, for the agency."

- William Gerstenmaier, statement

- Joseph Dyer statement

Boeing Establishes Baseline Configuration of Commercial Crew Transportation System

"Boeing and NASA recently established the firm baseline configuration for the company's Commercial Crew Transportation System, achieving the first performance milestone in NASA's Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative."

NASA Requests Proposals for Initial Contracts to Certifying Commercial Crew Transportation Systems

"NASA on Wednesday released a request for proposals for the first of two contract phases to certify commercially developed space systems in support of crewed missions to the International Space Station. Through these certification products contracts, NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) will ensure commercial missions are held to the agency's safety requirements and standards for human space transportation system missions to the space station."

Keith's note: The following hearings and meetings will be happening over the next few days (3 2 are tomorrow). All of these events are overtly related to space commerce. Yet you see zero mention of any of these events by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. One would think that their member companies and other interested parties would like to know that these things are going on. Oh well.

- 12 Sep: Hearing: Examining NASA's Development of the Space Launch System and Orion Crew Capsule
- 12 Sep: Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee
- 14 Sep: House Science Space & Tech Committee Hearing: Recent Developments in NASA's Commercial Crew Acquisition Strategy
- 18 Sep: NASA Advisory Council Commercial Space Committee Meeting


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

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