Is 9 December the day we’ll find out who has been awarded funded space act agreements for NASA’s $50 million Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) activity, because the November deadline sure looks like its going to be missed?

According to NASAWatch 9 December could see a big announcement from NASA administrator Charles Bolden so this blog is wildly guessing that that day will see the CCDev awards awarded – largely because Bolden has been so enthusiastic about commercial for so longWith only two working days for November left after today, a Space Shuttle landing expected tomorrow and NASA telling this blog as recently as yesterday that the media will be informed about the CCDev award date in due course, the announcement is looking like it’s going to slip into December

NASA criteria for announcement timings has never been clear but you would think that Congressional hearing dates might be a factor. So the fact that there are two hearings on Wednesday 2 December, one for human spaceflight safety and the other more broadly for commercial space transportation, would be a major consideration

In this blogger’s experience Congressional hearings rarely produce positive headlines for anyone. So would you choose to make this good news announcement about the start of a bold $50 million new era of commercial crew development before, immediately after or even on the day of the hearings?

If you want it to hit any headlines you sure as hell don’t want it to be released on 1 December when US president Barack Obama is to make his Afghanistan strategy address to the USA. Then again the multi billion dollar Commercial Resupply Services contract award announcement was made on 23 December last year!

So maybe 9 December is as good a date as any? Avoid the avalanche of Afghanistan coverage and let whatever hub-bub emerges from the Congressional hearings die down

Whatever happens 9 December is the start of a month that is, thanks to the Christmas period, short for any decision making and a deadline for fiscal year 2011 budgetary request submissions

Something to think about when the Augustine report identified 2016 as a likely start for commercial crew transportation operations if a multi-billion dollar programme were to start in fiscal year 2011. Which of course starts on 1 October 2010