Commercialization: February 2014 Archives

NASA Provides Updated Commercial Spaceflight Report, SpaceRef Business

"NASA has released its 14th 60 day Commercial Spaceflight Report. The bi-monthly report outlines the progress of NASA's commercial crew and cargo development programs. Highlights include Boeing completing 15 of 20 Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) milestones, SpaceX completing 12 of 17 and Sierra Nevada 8 of 14."

"Of the five milestones left for Boeing, two will be completed in the first quarter of this year; M10: Spacecraft Primary Structures Critical Design Review and M17: Pilot-in-the-Loop Demonstration. Boeing's contract value is $480 million of which $404.5 has been paid with $75.5 remaining."

NASA Proposed Rule: Profit and Fee Under Federal Financial Assistance Awards

"NASA is revising the NASA Grant & Cooperative Agreement Handbook to clarify that NASA does not pay profit or fee on Federal Financial Assistance awards, i.e. grants and cooperative agreements, to non-profit organizations. This proposed rule would make changes to NASA regulations to reflect that revision."

"... There appears to have been some confusion with regard to the term `management fee'. Management fees that are allowable, allocable, reasonable and necessary costs in accordance with an entity's established accounting practices and Government cost principles will be paid by NASA. This rule is clarifying that NASA will not pay profit or fee where profit or fee is defined as the amounts above allowable costs. The language in this rule has been revised to clarify this point."

New NASA Policy Directive Signed: Challenges, Prize Competitions and Crowdsourcing Activities

"To encourage the use of challenge activities (challenges), including prize competitions and crowdsourcing activities, to further the Agency's mission at all levels of the NASA organization. The Federal Government has been encouraged to use prizes and challenges as tools to solve problems and drive innovation for specific needs. Challenges use afocused problem-statement approach to obtain solutions and/or stimulate innovation from a broad, sometimes undefined, public rather than a specific named group or individual. Prize competitions and crowdsourcing are two specific techniques for implementing challenges."

Keith's update: Waypoint2space is still selling their "train like an astronaut" courses - even though they admitted to NASAWatch that they are not training people to become astronauts. That does not stop them from prominently asking asking "Have you ever wanted to be an ASTRONAUT" on their main webpage.

This webpage claims "At Waypoint 2 Space, we are proud to be leading the evolution of Commercial Spaceflight Training through our collaboration with NASA centers. Operating from the global hub of space technology - Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas - we are helping to shape the future of the Commercial Space Industry."

What "collaboration?" Has any agreement been signed between Waypoint2Space and NASA? NASA says no. Waypoint2space still claims to be "operating" from JSC (technically correct since they have a small office in a tech transfer building onsite) but they make no mention of the fact that their training will actually happen offsite in a rented building. Very misleading. They have removed all of the commercial space company logos that were previously shown on their website. They have also changed their main page so that you cannot easily see other links - but if you go to this page the old menu is still on top.

- Can You Train Like An Astronaut at JSC for $45,000? Not Without NASA's Permission, earlier post
- Waypoint2space: Closer Look at Website Claims About Operations at NASA JSC, earlier post
- Waypoint2space Clarifies A Few Things About Astronaut Training at NASA JSC, earlier post

Who Owns The Moon?

Lunar property rights, Economist

"According to the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, signed by every space-faring country, no nation can claim sovereignty over Earth's lunar satellite. 102 countries have entered into to the 1967 accord; China joined in 1983. But space law scholars debate whether the Treaty actually implicitly prohibits, or allows, private ownership on celestial bodies. Some commercial companies, such as Bigelow Aerospace, are hoping to use the ambiguity of the treaty's language to their advantage. Founded in 1999 and based in Las Vegas, the firm aims to manufacture inflatable space habitats. It already has an agreement with NASA to expand the International Space Station in 2015 using its flexible modules, and also to devise a plan for a privately developed, NASA financed, lunar base architecture."

Manned missions from Wallops?, DelmarvaNow

"Substantial development of the launch facilities on Wallops Island would be required to accommodate human space flight, [Mike Gold Bigelow Aerospace] said. But he called manned flights from Wallops "not only the next logical step but...a step we must take if we want to continue to grow our capabilities." The Virginia spaceport does not provide a particularly attractive trajectory for satellite launches, Gold said, adding, "That's why you see a company like SpaceX located in Texas rather than Wallops." "What we are good for is human spaceflight--the Eastern Shore has a great trajectory, great capabilities to support human spaceflight."

NASA OIG: Final Report - IG-14-014 - NASA's Award Closeout Process, NASA OIG

"As of October 2013, NASA had more than 15,000 award instruments that had expired but were not yet closed. NASA contracts with a private company to assist with the closeout process. The OIG found that although NASA has slowed the growth of its backlog of instruments awaiting closeout, the Agency needs to make further improvements to its closeout process."

Keith's note: Silicon Valley sources report that NASA will announce that Google-backed developer Planetary Ventures has been selected to lease Moffett Field and Hangar One. Details to follow.

Keith's update: GSA, NASA Competitively Select Planetary Ventures LLC for Rehabilitation of Hangar One, Use of Moffett Federal Airfield

Notice of Intent - Leasing Opportunity - Hangar One and Moffett Federal Airfield, earlier post

Delight Over ISS Extension, Debate Over Regulations Highlight 2014 FAA Commercial Space Conference,

"The FAA's annual Commercial Space Transportation conference covered a lot of ground this week (February 5-6, 2014), but two topics were highlights:  the Obama Administration's recent decision to extend operations of the International Space Station (ISS) by four more years and debate about the extent of government regulation of commercial human spaceflight."

Marc's update: Audio of the conference sessions are now available on SpaceRef Business.

Watch Live - Agenda

Keith's update: Guess what: this conference will be webcast live after all! In all of my interactions with FAA Commercial Space Transportation Office - as late as Tuesday morning - no one in that office knew about a webcast of this meeting. There is no mention whatsoever made of a webcast on the registration website or at their FAA website. Yet according to the helpful folks at FAA Headquarters Media Relations, this is the link for the two day event: The FAA Commercial Space Transportation Office staff need to talk to their own PAO office a little more often - they might learn something.

Necessary Updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act: Hearing Charter

"The industry has grown over the years since the passage of the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-575) thirty years ago, and this law has been amended several times since then. The Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) provides authority to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to license launches and indemnify launch providers from third-party claims should an accident occur. The law also provides a framework for the FAA's regulatory authority. This hearing will examine the various changes in the industry and what, if any, accompanying changes to the Commercial Space Launch Act may be needed going forward."

- Prepared Statement by George Nield
- Prepared Statement by Henry Hertzfeld
- Statement of Rep. Steven Palazzo
- Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith
- Commercial Space Launches: FAA's Risk Assessment Process Is Not Yet Updated, Alicia Puente Cackley, GAO

Review of NASA's Agency Consolidated End-User Services Contract, NASA OIG

"NASA's lack of adequate preparation prior to deploying the ACES contract together with HP's failure to meet important contract objectives has resulted in the contract falling short of Agency expectations. We attribute these shortcomings to several factors, including a lack of technical and cultural readiness by NASA for an Agency-wide IT delivery model, unclear contract requirements, and the failure of HP to deliver on some of its promises. In general, these issues fall into two categories: (1) issues related to the Agency's overall IT governance and (2) management and problems specific to the ACES contract."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from February 2014.

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