On 8 September NASA began a procurment process for a human rating study for its commercial crew and cargo programme and then abruptly cancelled it on 15 September

NASA told Hyperbola: “We received inputs from a large number of aerospace companies that they would also like to participate in the Human Rating studies. We did not have enough Recovery Act money to pay for everyone that wanted to participate so we decided to cancel the synopsis and do the work in-house with civil servants and their existing support contractors. When the Human Rating products are completed in approximately March 2010, NASA plans to release the products for industry-wide review and comment through a NASA Request For Information (RFI).”

Not enough to pay for everyone? Don’t they have $49 million for this? Existing support contractors on work like this probably includes Aerospace Corporation

Of course March 2010 nicely pushes this RFI out beyond the February publication of president Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget request and whatever human spaceflight announcement the Obama administration has to make before that publication

What does this say about commercial crew’s future?

UPDATE: I have just noticed that the original synopsis said (text changed to lower case and edited for clarity): “Competition for this opportunity is available only to contractors under fixed-price competitively awarded indefinite delivery indefinite quantity NASA Commercial Resupply Services [contractors Orbital sciences corporation and Space Exploration Technologies].”

So if only two companies could bid for this why are they talking about having too many interested parties? Either NASA wants to widen human rating work to include transport systems proposed by Commercial Crew Development programme funded space act agreement winners (being selected in November) or commercial crew is dead in the water