Thoughts on Rep Wolf’s commercial crew statement

by | Jun 5, 2012 | Seradata News | 1 comment

Representative Frank Wolf, representative from Virginia’s 10th congressional district, has long been ardently opposed to a competitive contracting process for NASA’s commercial crew programme. Because Rep. Wolf chairs the House subcommittee on commerce, justice and science (CJS), he’s in a position of great influence over NASA. Previously, he’s used his position to push through very tight restrictions on exchanges with China, making it virtually impossible to connect in any legitimate way. “If my Chinese counterpart comes here, I’m forbidden to even buy him a cup of coffee,” says one high-ranking NASA employee.

But Rep. Wolf appears to have had a change of heart on commercial crew. According to a release by his office, Wolf and NASA have reached an agreement on the way forward.

The deal is essentially that NASA will receive funding at or near the levels promised by the Senate — $525 million or so — if the commercial crew integrated capability (CCiCap) space act agreements are limited to 2.5 (two primaries, and one partial award), if CCiCap is the final development round and if the next contract awards are the standard federal acquition regulations.

If true — it is unconfirmed by NASA at this time — it means a much tighter competition for funds among the commercial companies. While the ongoing contract, CCDev II, included four companies — Blue Origin, Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada — limiting to two (and a half) going forward means the real cutoff. Though the programmes have become increasingly stable with time, technical maturity and sunk cost, it may mean the end of losing programmes.

An additional consideration is — remember, unconfirmed — it locks NASA into FAR-based contracts. The commercial companies have been loving the Space Act Agreements, which allows NASA a pretty hands-off approach and could allow a services-based contract when the actual ISS transport missions come about. A FAR contract is much more stringent — it requires government cooperation and approval at every step, resulting in a government-owned rocket being launched. It will undoubtedly be slower and more cumbersome, but allow for a greater degree of confidence on NASA’s part.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Space Year 2012 review: Politics – Obama survives, former astronauts relieved, while India’s UK aid will be cut

Politics were not dominated by space during 2012, but they were a factor. The elephant in the room was, of Read more

North Korea to try again with second Kwangmyonsong 3 satellite

North Korea has announced that it intends to launch the second Kwangmyonsong 3 satellite on a Unha launch vehicle from Read more

On a sadder note: Don’t Panic but Clive Dunn has passed away

Space geeks will know that."Don't Panic" is a phrase written on the cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Read more

Shuttle Endeavour is moved gingerly through the streets of Los Angeles

The Space Shuttle Endeavour was carefully moved through the streets of Los Angeles on the back of a specialist vehicle Read more

Latest Russian space career casualty after Proton launch failure

Following the launch failure of the Proton M/Breeze M whicl lost the Express MD2 and Telkom 3 satellites on 6 Read more

Proton M fails to place two satellites in the correct orbit

A Russian Proton M launch vehicle launched the Telkom 3 and Express MD-2 satellites at 1931 GMT on 6 August. During Read more

Olympics has audience of billions as opening ceremony scores gold

With a total world television audience watching its coverage estimated at being well over 4 billion views, with satellites beaming Read more

Progress resupply craft to test rapid rendezvous flight profile.

When Progress M-016M launches on 01 August the craft will conduct an experiment to dock with the International Space Station Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags