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Paperwork stops space privateers building lunar lander

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:49 pm
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From New Scientist Print Edition: (via hobbyspace) THE next lunar lander won’t be designed by the new generation of plucky space privateers after all, and for a bizarre reason.

While a consortium that includes Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, builders of the first privately owned spacecraft, say they can build a great spaceship, they don’t have the expertise or resources to do all the paperwork.

“NASA wants 40 to 50 monthly reports on what you’re doing,” David Gump, president of the Transformational Space consortium told New Scientist on Monday. And while “we could build a great Crew Exploration Vehicle”, Gump says, the consortium cannot comply with the reports and studies NASA stipulates to monitor the project.

NASA issued eight companies with contracts to design a CEV last September. But the two contracts to build prototypes are likely to go to two consortiums, one headed by Lockheed Martin, the other by Northrop Grumman and Boeing. Transformational Space hopes to land a smaller deal for an orbiter with minimal documentation.

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