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NASA COTS

Posted by: Number2 - Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:56 am
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NASA COTS 
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Post NASA COTS   Posted on: Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:56 am
Their seems to be more and more of this coverage.
New Alan Boyle article on MSNBC. 8)

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11927039/

Private ventures vie to service space station


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Post    Posted on: Tue May 09, 2006 10:43 pm
Here's another article from Alan Boyle on NASA's COTS program.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12706352/

Heres an article which gives the 6 COTS companies after NASA's initial cut as:

Andrews Space
Rocketplane Kistler
SpaceDev
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)
SpaceHab
Transformational Space Corporation (t/Space)

interesting that Boeing or Lockheed dosent make an appearance.

http://michaelbelfiore.com/blog/2006/05 ... s-for.html

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:09 am
This article from spaceref based on a SFF document is pretty critical of NASA's treatment of COTS and claims that the program is starved of cash. It also suggests that NASA should stop development of Block 1 CEV (LEO variant for ISS resupply) and divert the cash saved back to science programs and COTS.

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=21493

I was wandering whether NASA was trying to do to much with the CEV, making it a jack of all trades seems to be repeating the mistake of the shuttle. Taking time to develop a specific LEO CEV will delay a moon/mars program. Its looking like the US is going to have a gap in manned spaceflight of maybe 4 years diverting cash from block 1 to COTS could be a good way of reducing that gap.

Various COTS contenders have said that they will need the majority of the $500M to develop their individual craft, making more money available would increase the numbers of different companies going forward to the next stage and increase competition. Having say 4 different vehicles as opposed to 2 seems to me to increase the chances of one of them being successful.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:29 am
This is the second publication of that article I quoted in the Fundamental Error diagnosted-thread.

It seems to be obvious that the critics about NASA are grwoing and getting more severe. I downloaded the full version of the study and hope to find time soon to read it. Up to now it seesm that the Foundation's arguments are shared very often at this board since the arguments against NASA's doings are very similar to those the Foundation is publishing...



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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:34 pm
SFF is very anti-NASA and has been. More space-libertarian nonsense from those who refuse to admit that it was big gov't funding that got the space race going.

Eric Anderson is a tax cheat--and the SFF folks need to get back on the short bus.


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Post COTS Announcement - Friday 18 Aug 4pm EDT   Posted on: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:52 pm
From: SpaceRef.com
Quote:
"NASA Exploration Systems' managers will host a press conference at 4 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 18, to announce the organizations selected to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation services. The services could pave the way for contracts to launch and deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station."

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:06 am
original source...

From NASA MEDIA ADVISORY: M06-126
Quote:
NASA ANNOUNCES CREW AND CARGO TRANSPORTATION PARTNERS

NASA Exploration Systems' managers will host a press conference at 4 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 18, to announce the organizations selected to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation services. The services could pave the way for contracts to launch and deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

The press conference will be in the NASA Headquarters auditorium, 300 E Street S.W., Washington, and it will air live on the Web and NASA TV. Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Reporters should coordinate with local agency centers by 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 19 for access information.

Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Scott Horowitz and Commercial Crew/Cargo Project Manager Alan Lindenmoyer will announce the selections and discuss the program.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information,
visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For information about NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate,
visit: http://exploration.nasa.gov/

For information about NASA and agency programs,
visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:59 pm
NASA has chosen SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler as COTS finalists.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/explo ... ction.html

I think that just about everyone tipped SpaceX as a winner but I'm a bit surprised about Rocketplane Kistler. Not sure whether that is such a good choice, Kistler managed to spend $100Ms without launching anything lets hope that they can get something off the pad.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:15 pm
YEPS!!! And they chose my 2 favorite teams! 8) I'm very happy for them.

I've the press release on the site as well:
http://www.spacefellowship.com/News/?p=1639

But it's always sad for those who didn't made it..

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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:16 am
Its interesting that the two companies get different amounts of money, SpaceX ($278M) and RpK ($207M), perhaps this indicates that NASA feels that SpaceX has a better chance or that it is much more likely to generate additional funding itself and give them more for their money.

On reflection I should have guessed that RpK would have won through as Kistler is almost a mini NASA peppered with ex-NASA managers and engineers, their team was also stuffed with the usual big space companies (Orbital, Lockheed, Northrop, Aerojet) so I expect that NASA thought their would be less risk involved.

Its a pity that SpaceDev never made it, I think they are quoted on their website as saying the cost of developing DreamChaser would be about $100M. Still generating a rival moon mission architecture at a fraction of the cost of NASA probably didn't do them any favours and made them look less serious.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:13 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

I too would have preferred others over Rocketplane Kistler - SpaceDev or even more t/Space.

t/Space would have to finance a difference of $ 193 mio between NASA money and the $ 400 mio required for CXV and seems to not have got the capital from investors, backers, sponsors yet but keep their lips tight because there might be going on soemthing.

SpaceDev hasn't any real hardware yet but estimated the required investment at below the NASA mony Rocketplabne Kistler gets.

Perhaps some of hte loosers join forces and t/Space gets additional partners increasing their capital - there will be a second COTS-competition in or before 2010:
Quote:
Horowitz said both SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler are expected to conduct three flight demonstrations before 2010 to prove that they have what it takes to safely deliver pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station. At that point, NASA intends to conduct a second open competition for service contracts to supply the space station.

That competition, Horowitz said, will be open to all comers
, not just SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler.




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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 19, 2006 9:34 am
Hello Ekkehard,

Let me say that I havent got anything against RpK, I just think that Kistler had their chance and blew it. After managing to raise many millions in financing (I seem to remember reading over $600M but I cant be sure about that :?: ) they still ended up in bankrupsy, this suggests to me that their company runs along similar lines to the old aerospace companies.

I think they got through not so much on technical merit but more on knowing the right people and having the inside track, RpK President Randy Brinkley is a former NASA manager for the ISS Program for example.

With regard to T-Space, I think that once they had declared that it would cost $400M dollars to develop the CXV it was very hard for them to be chosen without demonstrating they were able to attract substantial funding from other sources.

SpaceDev will move beyond PPT presentations on at least some of the Dreamchaser components since they have funding to develop large hybrid boosters from the military already. I think that spending $100M with them would have produced better results. NASA could have started with a smaller amount which would have allowed SpaceDev to generate the sub-orbital capability and show the potential of their system.

With regard to your last point, I think it unlikely that any of the COTS losers will be able to compete with the winners in 2010 as SpaceX and RpK will have had their existing lead increased further by NASA's cash.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:43 am
Andy Hill wrote:
Hello Ekkehard,
Let me say that I havent got anything against RpK, I just think that Kistler had their chance and blew it. After managing to raise many millions in financing (I seem to remember reading over $600M but I cant be sure about that :?: ) they still ended up in bankrupsy, this suggests to me that their company runs along similar lines to the old aerospace companies.


As I understand, Kistler operated along the lines of a 'design house' rather than a typical vertically integrated company. That is, much of the manufacturing, testing was outsourced out to traditional aerospace firms.

It is a depature from the traditional vertically integrated aerospace giants and was an attempt to resolve cost issues associated with setting up manufacturing facilities. Unfortunately, it seems that the benefits of outsourcing seems to be marginal. SpaceX on the other hand, chose to reinvent the manufacturing process to realised cost savings.

Orbital Science will be the lead contractor for Kistler if I remember correctly, when they are awarded the COTS...


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:24 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

I too don't have nothing against Rocketplane Kistler but their approach is too similar to SpaceX's one that I could see an alternative it it. As if NASA simply was out on an alternative company as back-up. If this really is so then Griffin's words about NASA's role as setter of incentives tend to become sounding not that true.

SpaceDev in turn I consider to be an alternative approach not too similar to SpaceX's one.

That t/Space have said explicitly that the CXV will cost $ 400 mio makes them very serious from my point of view - they don't suggest that the development will be cheap - the essential and important point are the flight costs of $ 20 mio per flight. At present I have the impression that SpaceX can't compete to that - the flight cots of the Falcon V are listed to be $ 18 mio. To these the depreciations of the Dragon have to be added. But one of the Falcon 9-variants wil be used to launch the Dragon - the costs of each of the variants are above the CXV-flight costs of $ 20 mio.

This menas that seen from now it may turn out that NASA has selected the higher cost-vehicle - they might have decided different if the COTS money would have beene $ 750 mio instead of $ 500 mio only. Then they could have better oriented their selection to the flight costs.

t/Space may earn the private funds - SpaceX has them already and thus doesn't need the NASA money that urgently like t/Space. t/Space's chances to earn the money are the business Air Launch contracted to do with NASA, Air Launch's QuickReach business with the military, Burt Rutans business with Virgin Galactic and each White Knight or SS2 he succeeds to sell to additional customers. The operations of SS2 will start late 2008 - sufficient time to get revenues etc. until 2010.

All in all it will be interesting to read what NASA and the bidders say publicly in the next days and weeks.



Hello, Koxinga,

I haven't watched Kistler that much up to now - but it is strange if their managers thought that outsourcing alone would be sufficient. And the $ 600 mio investment doesn't look as if they analzed that sufficiently before starting their doings.

By the way - if the $ 600 mio would have gone into the vehicle nearly completely the investment would be more expensive that the CXV which looks cheap in comparison. May NASA have overseen or forgotten the $ 600 mio?(??).

The circumstance that so much former NASA people are at Rocketplane Kistler makes me think if all the bidders had comparable chances really or if NASA has applied personal preferences for their former colleagues. If so then all the others should limit their trust and confidence into NASA's business behaviour in future.

What about it all?



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Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Mon Aug 21, 2006 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:28 am
Kistler have said in the past that their K-1 launcher is 90% complete I am surprised that they required so much extra cash to finish the job, this suggests to me that their development has been expensive when compared to other private companies.

Also Elon Musk has said they he would build Dragon with or without NASA money and since SpaceX will build Falcon IX for commercial reasons anyway, NASA's money will only accelerate the process.

I think that NASA could have reduced the amount of money to both companies without much impact and spent $100M with SpaceDev to have 3 finalists, this option would not have been available for T-Spaces CXV at $400M.

Ekkehard

I agree with you about the similarities of both vehicles and NASA might have been better to choose at least one launch system that was less conventional.

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