Author Topic: What if CCDev is zeroed out?  (Read 20638 times)

Offline QuantumG

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What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« on: 03/29/2012 10:02 PM »
As both the House and the Senate seem poised to cut CCDev funding, perhaps it is time to consider the worst case scenario. What happens to each of the CCDev partners if all funding for the program is cut this year? Will CCiCap continue as unfunded SAAs? Perhaps a new reduced program with the partners taking a bigger share of the risk?

SpaceX has made it clear that they will continue without NASA funding if required.

Boeing has said similar things, but not as loudly.

Blue Origin didn't need NASA money in the first place.

Sierra Nevada seems to be completely dependent on CCDev funds and a cut now will probably put Dream Chaser back into hibernation.

Thoughts?

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #1 on: 03/30/2012 12:39 AM »
Answer: We'll be stuck paying the Russians for Soyuz for the foreseeable future. Maybe we'll get Orion on Delta IV Heavy by 2018, but it'll cost a lot more (both initial capability and per-flight), would need a very significant budget increase. If no budget increase, it'd take until 2021 at least, so something like $450 million per year until then would be exported to the Russian defense sector.

And we'd lose the ability to have a domestic backup in case of a launch problem. And if we went with SLS versus Delta IV Heavy, there'd be significantly more risk (SLS is new, Delta IV Heavy is proven).


The providers would probably be okay (other than SpaceDev), but it'd severely stunt the non-government human spaceflight market, even likely lead to Bigelow giving up entirely. Progress on the orbital front would be put back probably a decade for the likes of Boeing, etc.


And remember, Orion is now effectively disposable. That means a very expensive spacecraft is required new every mission. Just for LEO. And if SLS is chosen, that'd be another VERY expensive launch vehicle for every crew rotation. That would severely hurt the chances of doing beyond-LEO work while ISS is still in orbit, thus delaying beyond-LEO exploration by most of a decade as SLS/Orion is stuck in LEO servicing ISS instead of doing what they were made for (beyond-LEO exploration).
« Last Edit: 03/30/2012 12:42 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Proponent

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #2 on: 03/30/2012 08:24 AM »
And every crew rotation (if we can call it that, since Orion carries just four people against, e.g., Dragon's seven) would consume two years' worth of SLS production, tending to push BEO even further into the future.  SLS for back-up crew transport to ISS makes no sense at all.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #3 on: 03/30/2012 02:34 PM »
To the OP:

Then we have more money for food stamps.
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Offline Diagoras

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #4 on: 03/30/2012 07:57 PM »
To the OP:

Then we have more money for food stamps.

Try social security/medicare/defense.
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Offline Jorge

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #5 on: 03/30/2012 08:16 PM »
And every crew rotation (if we can call it that, since Orion carries just four people against, e.g., Dragon's seven)

Yes, we can call it that. NASA is not responsible for rotating the three Russian crew, only the 3-4 USOS crewmembers.
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Offline jongoff

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #6 on: 03/30/2012 08:23 PM »
And every crew rotation (if we can call it that, since Orion carries just four people against, e.g., Dragon's seven)

Yes, we can call it that. NASA is not responsible for rotating the three Russian crew, only the 3-4 USOS crewmembers.

I think the more important point is that if SLS/Orion was used for station crew rotations, it would likely tie up any money for going BEO with SLS. But many of the congressional supporters of SLS/Orion make it seem (by their actions) as though they aren't actually supporting SLS/Orion for the BEO exploration as much as they are for paying off campaign contributors, and since you're less likely to have a fatal crew accident going to and from the station than going to deep space, having SLS/Orion tied up running ISS logistics may be a feature to them, and not a bug. But that's just my bitter cynicism about the whole situation coming out again. I'm resigned to the probability that in the end we'll most likely see both CCDev and SLS/Orion botched.

~Jon
« Last Edit: 03/30/2012 08:29 PM by jongoff »

Offline BeanEstimator

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #7 on: 04/02/2012 05:47 PM »
As both the House and the Senate seem poised to cut CCDev funding, perhaps it is time to consider the worst case scenario. What happens to each of the CCDev partners if all funding for the program is cut this year? Will CCiCap continue as unfunded SAAs? Perhaps a new reduced program with the partners taking a bigger share of the risk?

SpaceX has made it clear that they will continue without NASA funding if required.

Boeing has said similar things, but not as loudly.

Blue Origin didn't need NASA money in the first place.

Sierra Nevada seems to be completely dependent on CCDev funds and a cut now will probably put Dream Chaser back into hibernation.

Thoughts?



I see somebody else is sniffing at what I'm smelling.

Between the dumba** comments from Phil a few weeks ago, and the perception amongst some in Congress that CC is "taking" from SLS/MPCV/Son of CxP, I'll bet a months pay that CC will NOT get the $850m they requested.  My gut says half again, about $400m.  And that's still peppered with optimism. 

If they zero it out, which, I'll be honest, even I don't think that will happen...but if it does...

Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #8 on: 04/02/2012 06:20 PM »
...
Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 
That comment makes sense only if you completely deny that the government can play any role in stimulating a new industry by providing early demand.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #9 on: 04/02/2012 06:47 PM »
...
Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 

That comment makes sense only if you completely deny that the government can play any role in stimulating a new industry by providing early demand.

Isn't it the other way around?

Would any company bring a "truly commercial" crew system online if NASA abandoned ccdev, but commited to buy flights should they become available?

Cheers, Martin

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #10 on: 04/02/2012 06:53 PM »
...
Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 

That comment makes sense only if you completely deny that the government can play any role in stimulating a new industry by providing early demand.

Isn't it the other way around?

Would any company bring a "truly commercial" crew system online if NASA abandoned ccdev, but commited to buy flights should they become available?

Cheers, Martin
Not with NASA's very specific and expensive requirements. Far too much risk that NASA would pick someone else and all that work with meeting ISS's specific visiting vehicle requirements would be completely wasted. Requirements that cost money to hammer out. And NASA wants insight as well, a lot of that insight and oversight being paid for out of the commercial crew budget (not all of the money ends up as awards to the commercial crew contestants), and without money, there could be no insight or oversight.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #11 on: 04/02/2012 07:01 PM »
...
Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 

That comment makes sense only if you completely deny that the government can play any role in stimulating a new industry by providing early demand.

Isn't it the other way around?

Would any company bring a "truly commercial" crew system online if NASA abandoned ccdev, but commited to buy flights should they become available?

Cheers, Martin
Assuming all funding is cut, what the heck kind of company would want to pay the millions and millions of dollars to develop a capability that NASA and Congress seem pretty antagonistic about using? Cutting the funding to zero would send the message pretty strongly that NASA has no interest in buying commercial crew services. A company would have to be BRAIN DEAD to pursue that business.

And, of course, in that case, NASA would use the Russians or Orion, neither of which are good options. The Russians will probably end up costing just as much (helping a rival's defense sector undermining our national security while not helping the domestic economy) and Orion will cost more (it is expendable and heavier and uses a much more expensive launch vehicle). If Orion is used for ISS, that significantly decreases the amount of money for beyond-LEO exploration.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 07:10 PM by Robotbeat »
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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #12 on: 04/02/2012 07:33 PM »
If all funds got cut, I would think Space X would get capital investment funding and keep moving forward. The market is all about either filling a need or making one where there wasn't one before.

Currently in the human launch market, there is only one provider. (russia) There was a comment that any company proceeding forward without Gov't funds would be brain dead to pursue this. I say, they would be brain dead if they didn't.

If SpaceX, for instance, were to acquire private capital investments, they would be the ONLY private human launch provider in the Market. If they can keep their development costs to the point where they can offer human seating at or just below Russia's current costs, Congress would insist they were used. Frankly, even if they charged a few million more, it would be fine since they would be a domestic launch provider.

If NASA insisted on requirements that create an inflated price? Then they will have to pay for it. If they don't like it? They can reduce the requirements and save costs. Their choice.

I would also gather that other friendly countries would love to buy their services as well. It's theirs for the taking. Space X has a bundle of ex-NASA and industry experts advising them. Do they really even need NASA funds? Not really, no. If they are wiling to risk, which, I would say they have proven that they are already.

A market exists. Space X, even privately funded, can make back investments over time. And if they don't? Well that's part of the free-market as well, right? Capital is put at risk all the time. If funds are taken away? There is a very strong case for why they would and should continue developing commercial crew capabilities. Simply because, in very short order, they would own the market...
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #13 on: 04/02/2012 07:36 PM »
Yes, cutting commercial crew funding to zero would be gambling hugely with NASA's ability to man the ISS without using Russia. You'd be hoping/praying that the market would automagically spend hundreds of millions of dollars (the very minimum necessary to fulfill NASA's requirements) developing a capability that you have no guarantee of actually ever paying for.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 07:44 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #14 on: 04/02/2012 07:51 PM »
If all funds got cut, I would think Space X would get capital investment funding and keep moving forward. The market is all about either filling a need or making one where there wasn't one before.

Currently in the human launch market, there is only one provider. (russia) There was a comment that any company proceeding forward without Gov't funds would be brain dead to pursue this. I say, they would be brain dead if they didn't.

If SpaceX, for instance, were to acquire private capital investments, they would be the ONLY private human launch provider in the Market. If they can keep their development costs to the point where they can offer human seating at or just below Russia's current costs, Congress would insist they were used. Frankly, even if they charged a few million more, it would be fine since they would be a domestic launch provider.

If NASA insisted on requirements that create an inflated price? Then they will have to pay for it. If they don't like it? They can reduce the requirements and save costs. Their choice.

I would also gather that other friendly countries would love to buy their services as well. It's theirs for the taking. Space X has a bundle of ex-NASA and industry experts advising them. Do they really even need NASA funds? Not really, no. If they are wiling to risk, which, I would say they have proven that they are already.

A market exists. Space X, even privately funded, can make back investments over time. And if they don't? Well that's part of the free-market as well, right? Capital is put at risk all the time. If funds are taken away? There is a very strong case for why they would and should continue developing commercial crew capabilities. Simply because, in very short order, they would own the market...

I'm going to make a couple of points because I think you are in the ballpark with some and others not so much. 

For example.  You state a market exists.  What is this market?  If the market is simply NASA, then typically NASA pays to bring said capability to existance and levies requirements it as the customer wants, as would be with any customer. 

However, this alone is not what we have told "commercial" was supposed to be.  We were told that NASA would just *another* customer.  So, again, the root of the question is who are the other customers.

It is indeed a very important question.  Because, again, with other customers, which translate to other investments, then one does not become so reliant on government funds *AND* consequently (and this is a very important point) the case is made and potential rationale presented that NASA-unique requirements are to burdensome and driving away other customers.  This provides the ammunition to go back to NASA and work with them, illustrating that some requirements may be driving the costs unnecissarily and NASA then has a choice.

Those choices are:

1.  Continue with the requirements as planned, and therefore potentially no other, or fewer, non-NASA customers driving up the yearly costs to NASA in order to support and keep viable these vehicles over however many years....OR

2.  Reduce the requirements to some mutually agreed to place where other customers are still interested due to price becoming more modest but where technical capabilities, system safety, etc are still maintained. 

Either way, I don't believe this is the sole domain of SpaceX and, in fact, is the very question all of commercial space faces.  It starts again with creating the value proposition and the need to get to space.  With where we are today, that could be ISS in a much more profound way than just answering NASA's need for chartered flights twice a year.   

From that, is where one sees investment and true market forces dictating evolution, innovation, etc. 
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 07:53 PM by OV-106 »
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Offline BeanEstimator

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #15 on: 04/02/2012 08:31 PM »
...
Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 

That comment makes sense only if you completely deny that the government can play any role in stimulating a new industry by providing early demand.

Isn't it the other way around?

Would any company bring a "truly commercial" crew system online if NASA abandoned ccdev, but commited to buy flights should they become available?

Cheers, Martin

 ;D  ;D  ;D

I was fairly certain my comment would zing. 
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #16 on: 04/02/2012 08:38 PM »
...
Then we'll finally get to see how "commercial" commercial really is.  Maybe we'll even get to see some of these super hush-hush business plans in action (doubtful). 

That comment makes sense only if you completely deny that the government can play any role in stimulating a new industry by providing early demand.

Isn't it the other way around?

Would any company bring a "truly commercial" crew system online if NASA abandoned ccdev, but commited to buy flights should they become available?

Cheers, Martin

 ;D  ;D  ;D

I was fairly certain my comment would zing. 
Hey, man, we can go there. But the consequences of pursuing an artificial "purity" in "commerciality" is relying on the Russians (exporting our wealth and hurting our national security interests at the same time) and/or using Orion (which would lower any chance for using it for beyond-LEO exploration, at great cost).

And missing the opportunity to encourage the development of a new market. (Of course, for purists, it is impossible for the government to ever successfully stimulate any kind of development like that.)

We are very close to the orbital testing phase of commercial crew. So close.
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #17 on: 04/02/2012 08:56 PM »
The reality is vehicles are somewhere between PDR and CDR, and closer to PDR than CDR. 

I really would like to see someone give *real* examples of non-NASA customers and give some discussion on the points I have tried to raise that would truly benefit commercial investment instead of trying to place a labels in order to distort.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #18 on: 04/02/2012 09:06 PM »
Imposing unattainable requirements is the best way to kill commercial crew from within. Mike Griffin made the same kind of arguments in order to protect Ares I. He said that commercial companies should fund their own development and NASA might use it down the road if it ever needs it. There is a very small non-NASA market and it is certainly not enough to have a business case. If NASA stops funding commercial crew, it would take twice the time to develop commercial crew and chances are, it would only be ready after the ISS is deorbited.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 09:16 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #19 on: 04/02/2012 09:09 PM »
Great summation OV-106. Very well put.

A few additional thoughts: Even if what you are providing is needed by one entity, it is still a market. Perhaps a small one and the risk of having only one customer should never be understated, but the market is there and can be made larger.

I think of the other countries that NASA once provided services to. In this model, understanding that seats on Shuttle were included in overall ISS partner agreements, SpaceX could provide direct services to Canada, France, UK, Japan etc..

Bigelow has agreements with Boeing yes, but what would happen if Crewed Dragon were ready and the only game in town for private crewed services? Would they say no?

I suppose I am very optimistic concerning future private launch services beyond just NASA's needs. And sometimes the adage, if you build it they will come, has merit. Risky yes, but not out of the realm of the possible.

I pray to Ares it happens, because frankly, what other options do we have?
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Offline jongoff

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #20 on: 04/02/2012 09:49 PM »
The reality is vehicles are somewhere between PDR and CDR, and closer to PDR than CDR. 

I really would like to see someone give *real* examples of non-NASA customers and give some discussion on the points I have tried to raise that would truly benefit commercial investment instead of trying to place a labels in order to distort.

As I see it, there are two paths that could be taken to enabling a healthy (or at least semi-healthy) commercial crew marketplace:

1- If the commercial crew vehicles have cargo-delivery variants, there looks like there is enough demand between crew and cargo to the ISS to enable two or possibly three semi-healthy providers for several years. This should give enough time for other customers (such as Bigelow) to come on line once they have a proven way of getting crew/cargo to orbit. This method can at least initially survive the current approach to safety NASA is taking.

2- The other approach is that if NASA actually pulls back to a more sane crew safety approach (in line with what I think you and Wayne Hale and others have suggested in the past), that might enable low-enough per-seat prices for the companies to make money on the space tourism or "sovereign client markets".

The problem is that this is a chicken-and-egg issue. There are people who'd like to build businesses involving orbital operations, but it's really hard to do so when your business plan requires someone else to deliver on a commercial crew vehicle. Even Bigelow, who is self-funding, is struggling--why sink a ton of money into a space facility if you're not clear that there will be a way to get there when you're ready? Once that risk is retired though, it should make it much easier for actual customers to come on-board. The fact that NASA desperately needs commercial crew and cargo delivery to the ISS if it ever wants to free up enough resources to go BEO again, makes it an ideal candidate for acting as an anchor tenant and helping us get through this chicken-and-egg problem, since NASA actually needs that capability anyway.

~Jon

Offline veblen

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #21 on: 04/02/2012 09:53 PM »
Quote
I would also gather that other friendly countries would love to buy their services as well. It's theirs for the taking. Space X has a bundle of ex-NASA and industry experts advising them. Do they really even need NASA funds? Not really, no. If they are wiling to risk, which, I would say they have proven that they are already.
Quote

Canadian astronauts are losing their ride into space because the barter agreement CSA had with NASA is pretty much all used up. ISS construction is finished and the shuttles, with their Canadarms, are headed to the museums. The Canadian government is trying to balance the budget, hence not a lot more dough for space, and certainly not for purchasing seats on Soyuz.

But what about Space-X, eh? If Space-X meets mission success over the next couple of years, and they keep their prices competitive, a seat on Dragon might look pretty good to our Conservative leader (he is a hockey fan, not a space fan, but a Canadian astronaut flying economy on Space-X would probably appeal to him: Canadian astronaut participating in revolutionary commercial crew to space, etc. etc.). Yup, I can see it.

Quote
A market exists. Space X, even privately funded, can make back investments over time. And if they don't? Well that's part of the free-market as well, right? Capital is put at risk all the time. If funds are taken away? There is a very strong case for why they would and should continue developing commercial crew capabilities. Simply because, in very short order, they would own the market...

Thanks RCoppola, for providing the clearest and most concise case for commercial crew to LEO I have seen to date.


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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #22 on: 04/02/2012 10:05 PM »
Great summation OV-106. Very well put.

1.  A few additional thoughts: Even if what you are providing is needed by one entity, it is still a market. Perhaps a small one and the risk of having only one customer should never be understated, but the market is there and can be made larger.

2.  I think of the other countries that NASA once provided services to. In this model, understanding that seats on Shuttle were included in overall ISS partner agreements, SpaceX could provide direct services to Canada, France, UK, Japan etc..

3.  Bigelow has agreements with Boeing yes, but what would happen if Crewed Dragon were ready and the only game in town for private crewed services? Would they say no?

4.  I suppose I am very optimistic concerning future private launch services beyond just NASA's needs. And sometimes the adage, if you build it they will come, has merit. Risky yes, but not out of the realm of the possible.

I pray to Ares it happens, because frankly, what other options do we have?


1.  This is not really a market.  This is meeting the requirements of one customer, who traditionally pays whoever to bring the necessary capability online per their requirements, regardless if it is NASA or some other company.

In the case of NASA, this is also how things have always been done and it is the contractors responsibility to meet said requirements at a cost the customer, i.e. NASA is willing to pay for said service. 

2.  It is still NASA's responsibility to pay for all USOS crews, regardless of how they get there.  In the current world, NASA pays Russia for American, European, Japanese and Canadian astronauts. 

3.  I still don't understand the obsession and focus on SpaceX.  It can be anyone and reference my earlier post regarding that. 

4.  "Private launch services" does not equal "private/commercial spaceflight".  I don't necissarily disagree with that adage, but then it is even more incumbent on the provider to believe they have a closed business case, show and ROI, etc in order to bring said investment to offer said service.  Not rely on the government to make it happen and then "hope" something else materializes. 
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Offline peter-b

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #23 on: 04/02/2012 10:46 PM »
I suspect (but I'm not sure) that the ESA would be more likely to buy astronaut seats from Roskosmos than from SpaceX, because of (a) ITAR and (b) an existing close relationship with Russia.

I wouldn't look for a market for SpaceX there.  :-\
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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #24 on: 04/02/2012 11:09 PM »
Great summation OV-106. Very well put.

1.  A few additional thoughts: Even if what you are providing is needed by one entity, it is still a market. Perhaps a small one and the risk of having only one customer should never be understated, but the market is there and can be made larger.

2.  I think of the other countries that NASA once provided services to. In this model, understanding that seats on Shuttle were included in overall ISS partner agreements, SpaceX could provide direct services to Canada, France, UK, Japan etc..

3.  Bigelow has agreements with Boeing yes, but what would happen if Crewed Dragon were ready and the only game in town for private crewed services? Would they say no?

4.  I suppose I am very optimistic concerning future private launch services beyond just NASA's needs. And sometimes the adage, if you build it they will come, has merit. Risky yes, but not out of the realm of the possible.

I pray to Ares it happens, because frankly, what other options do we have?


1.  This is not really a market.  This is meeting the requirements of one customer, who traditionally pays whoever to bring the necessary capability online per their requirements, regardless if it is NASA or some other company.

In the case of NASA, this is also how things have always been done and it is the contractors responsibility to meet said requirements at a cost the customer, i.e. NASA is willing to pay for said service. 

2.  It is still NASA's responsibility to pay for all USOS crews, regardless of how they get there.  In the current world, NASA pays Russia for American, European, Japanese and Canadian astronauts. 

3.  I still don't understand the obsession and focus on SpaceX.  It can be anyone and reference my earlier post regarding that. 

4.  "Private launch services" does not equal "private/commercial spaceflight".  I don't necissarily disagree with that adage, but then it is even more incumbent on the provider to believe they have a closed business case, show and ROI, etc in order to bring said investment to offer said service.  Not rely on the government to make it happen and then "hope" something else materializes. 
1a But we are not talking about contractors and yes it is a market. F9 / Dragon is a wholly designed and owned product of SpaceX. Nasa can purchase this product. There is a need and a product to fulfill that need. That is a market. Albeit in its' infancy.

2a Yes, that is the current way. But who is to say that these other countries can not purchase this product on their own for other purposes then the ISS?

3a It is not an obsession about Space X. But I look around and ask, "Who else currently has a working integrated capsule and launch system? Not who did or who will, but who HAS? This to me, along with being a vertically integrated company with lower legacy costs and space transportation being their sole focus from top to bottom, should allow them to move forward in an efficient and economical way. I welcome all attempts from anyone who can though.

4a Why is providing a product/service for the Govt make said product/service non-commercial just because only the Govt is buying it or investing in it? Especially when you have other products/services that you sell to non-Govt entities that help you invest in developing those Govt products/services in the first place. Does that mean, every private company that provides products/services exclusive to the Govt (which SpaceX doesn't anyway) is not a legitimate commercial business?

At the end of the day, I'm not seeing many other options anyway. More then arguing over what is and what isn't the holy grail of true commercial purity, I just want to see us in space again, if it's a result of private entrepreneurship, all the better.
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Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #25 on: 04/02/2012 11:11 PM »
Isn't NASA reqd to buy commercial services over foreign / in-house if the market reaches the stage where they are offered?

Yes, NASA wouldn't have detailed insight into those services. But if the requirements levied by NASA are so onerous (are they??), could an un-encumbered commercial bring something on-line before the existing INKNSA waiver runs out in 2016?

ISTM that NASA wants to nurture 3-4 companies to "base camp" on the way to  crewed service, while those very companies are thinking "grudgingly accept one competitor as backup, no more".

All depends if NASA really would be forced to buy a commercial "taxi" service if it were available regardless of oversight.

cheers, Martin

Edit: whatever Congress would think about the idea, ISTM the current White House (if they win re-election) would be wholly in favour.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 11:14 PM by MP99 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #26 on: 04/02/2012 11:41 PM »
Isn't NASA reqd to buy commercial services over foreign / in-house if the market reaches the stage where they are offered?

Yes, NASA wouldn't have detailed insight into those services. But if the requirements levied by NASA are so onerous (are they??), could an un-encumbered commercial bring something on-line before the existing INKNSA waiver runs out in 2016?

ISTM that NASA wants to nurture 3-4 companies to "base camp" on the way to  crewed service, while those very companies are thinking "grudgingly accept one competitor as backup, no more".

All depends if NASA really would be forced to buy a commercial "taxi" service if it were available regardless of oversight.

cheers, Martin

Edit: whatever Congress would think about the idea, ISTM the current White House (if they win re-election) would be wholly in favour.
That's a reasonable idea and might even work, though if SLS/Orion is the backup, it won't. Assuming NO more money for CCDev, there would have to be a strong mechanism in place that ENSURES that NASA can't just decide to purchase more Russian seats and can't be allowed to just use SLS/Orion (except, perhaps, in an emergency). Otherwise, I don't see how you could convince investors to pay for the requirements that NASA needs. And then you'd have the problem that if only one commercial crew provider was in the market, they could force NASA to pay a high price (we're not in a cost-plus situation anymore, remember).

The current compromise makes a lot of sense (i.e NASA pays for part of it, so do the private folk, and SLS/Orion is backup), at least if CCDev ends up getting closer to the full funding that folks like Boeing think is needed. The low level of funding might work, but the schedule will slip considerably.

Boeing already said they wouldn't do CST-100 without NASA funding. Dreamchaser has the most to prove at this point (though it has some nice features), so it'd probably have a really hard time getting funding. Dragon would probably have a decent chance under this scheme, seeing as it's already flying in basic form. Blue Origin might work, too. They're independently funded as well and can survive without CCDev, though it'd probably take at least another ten years before their orbit capsule is fielded, considering their very slow pace (they'd probably wait until their reusable TSTO launch vehicle was finished).

But the requirement for NASA to buy the commercial seats would have to be pretty strongly worded. Considering that Congress or another Administration could change course, it'd be pretty tough to convince investors that it's worth the risk. As long as NASA also has "skin in the game" of commercial crew, then it's easier to convince investors that NASA will actually buy the service when development is finished.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 11:44 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #27 on: 04/02/2012 11:44 PM »
Boeing already said they wouldn't do CST-100 without NASA funding.

I must have missed that.. I vaguely remember them saying the opposite, but it would be "difficult".
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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #28 on: 04/02/2012 11:46 PM »
Boeing already said they wouldn't do CST-100 without NASA funding.

I must have missed that.. I vaguely remember them saying the opposite, but it would be "difficult".

Who would be their customer? Bigelow? Bigelow is waiting for commercial crew. Chicken and egg.

I should also point out that Boeing was never asked if they would continue if NASA were forced to buy the services somehow (something that doesn't seem workable to me). Remember, technically it's not even LEGAL for NASA to buy seats from the Russians, but Congress makes an exception. It'd be hard for Congress to be able to promise somehow that they wouldn't make a similar exception in the case of NASA being forced to buy commercial crew. And without such a promise, this scheme wouldn't work.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2012 11:50 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #29 on: 04/03/2012 12:01 AM »
Boeing already said they wouldn't do CST-100 without NASA funding.

I must have missed that.. I vaguely remember them saying the opposite, but it would be "difficult".

No, Elbon was very clear that Boeing would not go ahead without NASA funding and that they consider the non-NASA market to be a bonus. In other words, their business case relies on NASA being the only customer.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 12:21 AM by yg1968 »

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #30 on: 04/03/2012 09:57 AM »
Isn't NASA reqd to buy commercial services over foreign / in-house if the market reaches the stage where they are offered?

Yes, NASA wouldn't have detailed insight into those services. But if the requirements levied by NASA are so onerous (are they??), could an un-encumbered commercial bring something on-line before the existing INKNSA waiver runs out in 2016?

ISTM that NASA wants to nurture 3-4 companies to "base camp" on the way to  crewed service, while those very companies are thinking "grudgingly accept one competitor as backup, no more".

All depends if NASA really would be forced to buy a commercial "taxi" service if it were available regardless of oversight.

cheers, Martin

Edit: whatever Congress would think about the idea, ISTM the current White House (if they win re-election) would be wholly in favour.

That's a reasonable idea and might even work, though if SLS/Orion is the backup, it won't. Assuming NO more money for CCDev, there would have to be a strong mechanism in place that ENSURES that NASA can't just decide to purchase more Russian seats and can't be allowed to just use SLS/Orion (except, perhaps, in an emergency). Otherwise, I don't see how you could convince investors to pay for the requirements that NASA needs.
Quote
But the requirement for NASA to buy the commercial seats would have to be pretty strongly worded. Considering that Congress or another Administration could change course, it'd be pretty tough to convince investors that it's worth the risk. As long as NASA also has "skin in the game" of commercial crew, then it's easier to convince investors that NASA will actually buy the service when development is finished.

The legislation that would enforce this is already in effect:-

Commercial Space Act of 1998:-
Quote
(a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Federal Government shall acquire space transportation services from United States commercial providers whenever such services are required in the course of its activities. To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers.
(My highlight)



And then you'd have the problem that if only one commercial crew provider was in the market, they could force NASA to pay a high price (we're not in a cost-plus situation anymore, remember).

Quote
(b) Exceptions.--The Federal Government shall not be required to acquire space transportation services under subsection (a) if, on a case-by-case basis, the Administrator or, in the case of a national security issue, the Secretary of the Air Force, determines that--

...

(2) cost effective space transportation services that meet specific mission requirements would not be reasonably available from United States commercial providers when required;

cheers, Martin

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #31 on: 04/03/2012 10:14 AM »
Good finds MP99.

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #32 on: 04/03/2012 12:40 PM »
Thanks.

Following up, PL111-267 (‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010’) which introduced SLS, reaffirms that commercial crew be used "to the maximum extent practicable" for ISS, and that SLS and/or MPCV are only backups in the event commercial (or "partner-supplied") services to ISS aren't available.

Quote
SEC. 2. FINDINGS
...
(10) Congress restates its commitment, expressed in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109–155) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–422), to the development of commercially developed launch and delivery systems to the ISS for crew and cargo missions. Congress reaffirms that NASA shall make use of United States commercially provided ISS crew transfer and crew rescue services to the maximum extent practicable.

From previous discussions it seems "the maximum extent practicable" means NASA must follow this direction if they can.

Also, no discussion of how the commercial service became available, just to use it if it is.



Quote
SEC. 302. SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM AS FOLLOW-ON LAUNCH VEHICLE TO THE SPACE SHUTTLE.
...
(c)(1)(D) The capability to serve as a backup system for supplying and supporting ISS cargo requirements or crew delivery requirements not otherwise met by available commercial or partner-supplied vehicles.

Quote
SEC. 303. MULTI-PURPOSE CREW VEHICLE.
...
(b)(3) The capability to provide an alternative means of delivery of crew and cargo to the ISS, in the event other vehicles, whether commercial vehicles or partner-supplied vehicles, are unable to perform that function.

Thought for the day. I think the "partner-supplied" clause means even Soyuz is mandated over SLS/MPCV if the INKNSA waiver is extended?

cheers, Martin

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #33 on: 04/03/2012 01:21 PM »
Quote
I would also gather that other friendly countries would love to buy their services as well. It's theirs for the taking. Space X has a bundle of ex-NASA and industry experts advising them. Do they really even need NASA funds? Not really, no. If they are wiling to risk, which, I would say they have proven that they are already.
Quote

Canadian astronauts are losing their ride into space because the barter agreement CSA had with NASA is pretty much all used up. ISS construction is finished and the shuttles, with their Canadarms, are headed to the museums. The Canadian government is trying to balance the budget, hence not a lot more dough for space, and certainly not for purchasing seats on Soyuz.

But what about Space-X, eh? If Space-X meets mission success over the next couple of years, and they keep their prices competitive, a seat on Dragon might look pretty good to our Conservative leader (he is a hockey fan, not a space fan, but a Canadian astronaut flying economy on Space-X would probably appeal to him: Canadian astronaut participating in revolutionary commercial crew to space, etc. etc.). Yup, I can see it.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has already stated that are negotiating to get a seat for 2019 for a Canadian astronaut. In all likelyhood, this will be a seat on commercial crew. But technically speaking NASA is buying the seat for the CSA as barter for the CSA's contribution to the ISS (which has yet to be determined).  I doubt that the CSA will get to choose which spacecraft will be used for its astronauts. That decision belongs to NASA. The CSA is unlikely to purchase a seat on a commercial crew other than through a barter agreement. 
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 01:27 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #34 on: 04/03/2012 01:55 PM »
Thanks.

Following up, PL111-267 (‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010’) which introduced SLS, reaffirms that commercial crew be used "to the maximum extent practicable" for ISS, and that SLS and/or MPCV are only backups in the event commercial (or "partner-supplied") services to ISS aren't available.

Quote
SEC. 2. FINDINGS
...
(10) Congress restates its commitment, expressed in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109–155) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–422), to the development of commercially developed launch and delivery systems to the ISS for crew and cargo missions. Congress reaffirms that NASA shall make use of United States commercially provided ISS crew transfer and crew rescue services to the maximum extent practicable.

From previous discussions it seems "the maximum extent practicable" means NASA must follow this direction if they can.

Also, no discussion of how the commercial service became available, just to use it if it is.



Quote
SEC. 302. SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM AS FOLLOW-ON LAUNCH VEHICLE TO THE SPACE SHUTTLE.
...
(c)(1)(D) The capability to serve as a backup system for supplying and supporting ISS cargo requirements or crew delivery requirements not otherwise met by available commercial or partner-supplied vehicles.

Quote
SEC. 303. MULTI-PURPOSE CREW VEHICLE.
...
(b)(3) The capability to provide an alternative means of delivery of crew and cargo to the ISS, in the event other vehicles, whether commercial vehicles or partner-supplied vehicles, are unable to perform that function.

Thought for the day. I think the "partner-supplied" clause means even Soyuz is mandated over SLS/MPCV if the INKNSA waiver is extended?

cheers, Martin
Of course, Congress can (and considering where things are going, has a reasonable chance to) pass a law saying NASA must use Orion. Remember, the same sort of language has been there for a long time saying that NASA must use commercial launch vehicles, yet exceptions were made for some purposes, thus NASA HSF never used an EELV for any purpose as long as Shuttle was still flying.

There needs to be "skin in the game" for NASA as well. No one will invest if it appears neither NASA nor Congress want to buy commercial crew services. And you have to admit that would be the appearance if CCDev were zeroed out.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #35 on: 04/03/2012 02:30 PM »
Of course, Congress can (and considering where things are going, has a reasonable chance to) pass a law saying NASA must use Orion. Remember, the same sort of language has been there for a long time saying that NASA must use commercial launch vehicles, yet exceptions were made for some purposes, thus NASA HSF never used an EELV for any purpose as long as Shuttle was still flying.

There needs to be "skin in the game" for NASA as well. No one will invest if it appears neither NASA nor Congress want to buy commercial crew services. And you have to admit that would be the appearance if CCDev were zeroed out.

ISTM Congress has divided loyalties when it comes to paying to develop Commercial Crew.

If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

cheers, Martin

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #36 on: 04/03/2012 02:48 PM »
Of course, Congress can (and considering where things are going, has a reasonable chance to) pass a law saying NASA must use Orion. Remember, the same sort of language has been there for a long time saying that NASA must use commercial launch vehicles, yet exceptions were made for some purposes, thus NASA HSF never used an EELV for any purpose as long as Shuttle was still flying.

There needs to be "skin in the game" for NASA as well. No one will invest if it appears neither NASA nor Congress want to buy commercial crew services. And you have to admit that would be the appearance if CCDev were zeroed out.

ISTM Congress has divided loyalties when it comes to paying to develop Commercial Crew.

If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

cheers, Martin

Yeah, I see no reason to suggest Congress is going to pass a law saying NASA must use only Orion.  I think that is likely trying to be more alarmist than anything. 

But Martin, I think you are right that some in Congress are having issues or concerns about paying all the funds to develop something called "commercial", which the government does not own and NASA highlights how they cannot enforce the requirements they want.  I think these are fair feelings too and in the wake of Solyndra and others, to be expected. 

I also strongly believe that the communication and explanation for commercial thus far, (what it is and what it is not, what it will cost the government why we are doing it and what is truly hoped to be gained in both short and long term and most importantly how) has been lacking and filled with mixed messages which clearly does not help the situation.   
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 02:50 PM by OV-106 »
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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #37 on: 04/03/2012 03:58 PM »
My understanding is that the Russians are dependent on the power generated on the US side of the space station since they canceled their ISS solar arrays. I don't know how much room there is in the ISS agreement to increase the cost of that. Also the ISS is not going to be able to function without US astronauts. Both from a mechanical and political perspective. In other words if there are no US astronauts aboard then its hard to justify the sizable amount which the US spends on the ISS. Without which the ISS would have to be shut down. Would these factors not put an upper limit on how much the Russians are willing to raise the price of Soyuz seats?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #38 on: 04/03/2012 04:11 PM »
Of course, Congress can (and considering where things are going, has a reasonable chance to) pass a law saying NASA must use Orion. Remember, the same sort of language has been there for a long time saying that NASA must use commercial launch vehicles, yet exceptions were made for some purposes, thus NASA HSF never used an EELV for any purpose as long as Shuttle was still flying.

There needs to be "skin in the game" for NASA as well. No one will invest if it appears neither NASA nor Congress want to buy commercial crew services. And you have to admit that would be the appearance if CCDev were zeroed out.

ISTM Congress has divided loyalties when it comes to paying to develop Commercial Crew.

If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

cheers, Martin

So, you're going to convince investors that a Congress (some influential members, at least) that has been so hostile to spending any resources on commercial crew (instead of SLS/Orion, partly ostensibly for safety and oversight reasons) is then going to be perfectly willing to use a commercial crew capability when NASA no longer has the insight or oversight it has right now? That seems dubious at best.

Remember, CCDev funding also pays for the oversight/insight NASA does for commercial crew. Cut that funding to zero, and NASA loses that insight/oversight. People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 04:27 PM by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #39 on: 04/03/2012 04:41 PM »
People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.

At least, it would meet the pure definition of commercial that some people on this forum advocate. It's a fairly obvious way of killing commercial crew from within while still pretending to be pro-commercial. The only problem is that people see through this. Mike Griffin adopted a similar definition of commercial crew in order to protect Ares I but people also saw through it.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 04:52 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #40 on: 04/03/2012 06:02 PM »
People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.

At least, it would meet the pure definition of commercial that some people on this forum advocate. It's a fairly obvious way of killing commercial crew from within while still pretending to be pro-commercial. The only problem is that people see through this. Mike Griffin adopted a similar definition of commercial crew in order to protect Ares I but people also saw through it.

Just a damn minute.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with advocating and, unlike you, making actual suggestions on what could be done to help create things like *value props* and *business cases* for actual external customers to NASA in order to help free this *BUSINESS MODEL* from the constraints of government funding and all that implies.  That *IS* pro-commercial. 

You and others can claim to "see through it" all you want but do so at your own misconceptions. 
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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #41 on: 04/03/2012 06:09 PM »
People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.

At least, it would meet the pure definition of commercial that some people on this forum advocate. It's a fairly obvious way of killing commercial crew from within while still pretending to be pro-commercial. The only problem is that people see through this. Mike Griffin adopted a similar definition of commercial crew in order to protect Ares I but people also saw through it.
To be fair to Dr. Griffen, by supporting the COTS program he legitimized commercial space to a great extent. That commercial could be talked about seriously in NASA and in Washington is in part due to the COTS program. Under his watch SpaceX got a significant amount of money that enabled them to speed up development of the Dragon and Falcon 9.

His protection of Ares I also may have helped. By barring ULA from COTS to protect Ares I he allowed SpaceX and Orbital room to become domestic competitors. If NASA had chosen to go with commercial crew in 2004 then many of the fan favorites like SNC and SpaceX would not be in the running today. I guess in a weird way Mike Griffin sort of helped commercial space in that regard. I'm not saying that we are as a whole in a better position today because of it. I'm sure his role will be a fun thing for historians to debate about in the future.

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #42 on: 04/03/2012 06:31 PM »
People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.

At least, it would meet the pure definition of commercial that some people on this forum advocate. It's a fairly obvious way of killing commercial crew from within while still pretending to be pro-commercial. The only problem is that people see through this. Mike Griffin adopted a similar definition of commercial crew in order to protect Ares I but people also saw through it.

Just a damn minute.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with advocating and, unlike you, making actual suggestions on what could be done to help create things like *value props* and *business cases* for actual external customers to NASA in order to help free this *BUSINESS MODEL* from the constraints of government funding and all that implies.  That *IS* pro-commercial. 

You and others can claim to "see through it" all you want but do so at your own misconceptions. 

I don't disagree with you on your value proposition idea (although I still think that it's very similar to what is already being proposed with CASIS). But you seem to be suggesting that cutting commercial crew funding would somehow make it more commercial. This is what I have problem with. I agree that commercial crew should be as lean as possible but I still think that cutting funding for commercial crew will result in less providers.

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #43 on: 04/03/2012 06:39 PM »
People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.

At least, it would meet the pure definition of commercial that some people on this forum advocate. It's a fairly obvious way of killing commercial crew from within while still pretending to be pro-commercial. The only problem is that people see through this. Mike Griffin adopted a similar definition of commercial crew in order to protect Ares I but people also saw through it.
To be fair to Dr. Griffen, by supporting the COTS program he legitimized commercial space to a great extent. That commercial could be talked about seriously in NASA and in Washington is in part due to the COTS program. Under his watch SpaceX got a significant amount of money that enabled them to speed up development of the Dragon and Falcon 9.

His protection of Ares I also may have helped. By barring ULA from COTS to protect Ares I he allowed SpaceX and Orbital room to become domestic competitors. If NASA had chosen to go with commercial crew in 2004 then many of the fan favorites like SNC and SpaceX would not be in the running today. I guess in a weird way Mike Griffin sort of helped commercial space in that regard. I'm not saying that we are as a whole in a better position today because of it. I'm sure his role will be a fun thing for historians to debate about in the future.

I agree with you on that. Griffin also said that commercial companies should prove themselves with cargo first before being considered for crew. There is also some logic in that. ULA wasn't actually barred from COTS. Boeing had a COTS proposal that almost won against Orbital in 2008. But NASA ended up opting for Orbital (and SpaceX in 2006) possibly because it wanted ULA to have competition.

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #44 on: 04/03/2012 06:40 PM »
People seem to have an incredibly unrealistic understanding of how markets work. Spending huge amounts of capital to develop to the (very complicated and growing) requirements of a customer who apparently seems pretty hostile to you is pretty darned foolish and a really good way to lose all your money.

At least, it would meet the pure definition of commercial that some people on this forum advocate. It's a fairly obvious way of killing commercial crew from within while still pretending to be pro-commercial. The only problem is that people see through this. Mike Griffin adopted a similar definition of commercial crew in order to protect Ares I but people also saw through it.

Just a damn minute.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with advocating and, unlike you, making actual suggestions on what could be done to help create things like *value props* and *business cases* for actual external customers to NASA in order to help free this *BUSINESS MODEL* from the constraints of government funding and all that implies.  That *IS* pro-commercial. 

You and others can claim to "see through it" all you want but do so at your own misconceptions. 

I don't disagree with you on your value proposition idea (although I still think that it's very similar to what is already being proposed with CASIS). But you seem to be suggesting that cutting commercial crew funding would somehow make it more commercial. This is what I have problem with. I agree that commercial crew should be as lean as possible but I still think that cutting funding for commercial crew will result in less providers.

yg,

You see what you want to see.  As I have said before you only *think* you are calling me out because as I believe I have demonstrated time and time again with our discussions you do not grasp the situation at hand or at the very least what I am trying to tell you. 

I *NEVER* said "cut the commercial crew funding".  Get your facts straight.  What I have said, repeatedly, is that it is unrealistic to assume that the commercial crew program is going to get what the President's budget requested (which, by the way, got ZERO votes in the entire House).  The reasons I have spoken about and you can take the time to find them. 

With that, we will likely continue to get approximately what was authorized in the latest NASA Authorization Act, as happened last year and was agreed to by all.  It is this Administration that is actually increasing the risk to the program, in my opinion, by asking for more and intentionally putting it in a "show-down" situation.  The motives for such are not me to say, although I have my personal thoughts on that as well. 

So again, what can be done for something called "commercial", that is talked about being something supposedly different, in order to augment the limited government funding available and put the power in the hands of the companies that would build said spacecraft instead of the government.

Whining constantly, distoring the facts, etc about government money being taken away will not change the situation.  Again, I suggest you tread very carefully from here on out trying to paint me as something other than I am.  You WILL lose, again. 
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Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #45 on: 04/03/2012 06:50 PM »
I am actually glad to be proven wrong about your position on commercial crew. Thanks for clarifying it. I also doubt that commercial crew will get more than the authorized level of $500 million in FY 2013. Hopefully, Congress will keep an open mind to increase commercial crew funding in FY 2014. But the need for increased funding in future years is explained by the need for test flights which aren't cheap.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 06:50 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #46 on: 04/03/2012 07:01 PM »
I am actually glad to be proven wrong about your position on commercial crew. Thanks for clarifying it. I also doubt that commercial crew will get more than the authorized level of $500 million in FY 2013. Hopefully, Congress will keep an open mind to increase commercial crew funding in FY 2014. But the need for increased funding in future years is explained by the need for test flights which aren't cheap.

This is the second or third thread now where I have had to make such statements, on essentially the same subject, and you have had to eat crow.  I expect there will not be another. 

I don't know why you are fixated on test flights, and not operational flights, as "not being cheap" and again using that as a rally cry for yet again more government funding. 

So, again and for the last time, if nothing is done to add incentive or increase the probability for more corporate or private funds in anticipation of the ROI that was discussed and showcased by the Administration and Special Interest groups, then a downselect should be made and made soon. 

You, and others, cannot have it both ways and cry for more government funds to bring more vehicles to operation, or near, than NASA requires but then complain about how due to funds, schedule is slipping to the right and more reliance on Russia is necessary
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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #47 on: 04/03/2012 07:03 PM »
yg: My comments were directed at the topic of the thread and MP99 (and possibly Congress).

The topic is if ALL of CCDev's funds are cut. Other talk is off-topic. Including whether Congress ever put forth an actual realistic plan about how in heck NASA's requirements for commercial crew (including the redundancy requirement) would be met on schedule with just their current $500 million and while meeting Congress's onerous requirements of going with more FAR and more safety requirements.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 07:25 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #48 on: 04/03/2012 07:57 PM »
As far as value propositions are concerned, I think that a much better idea is to combine cargo and crew services in order to get economies of scale from each provider. As mentionned in the CCDev-1 and 2 selection statements, every company except Blue Origin are counting on their spacecraft to compete for cargo services as well as crew. 

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #49 on: 04/03/2012 07:59 PM »
As far as value propositions are concerned, I think that a much better idea is to combine cargo and crew services in order to get economies of scale from each provider. 

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28455.msg878666#msg878666
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Offline Danderman

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #50 on: 04/03/2012 08:15 PM »
If CCDEV is zeroed out, look for a sharp rise in the price of Soyuz seats.

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #51 on: 04/03/2012 08:48 PM »
Of course, Congress can (and considering where things are going, has a reasonable chance to) pass a law saying NASA must use Orion. Remember, the same sort of language has been there for a long time saying that NASA must use commercial launch vehicles, yet exceptions were made for some purposes, thus NASA HSF never used an EELV for any purpose as long as Shuttle was still flying.

There needs to be "skin in the game" for NASA as well. No one will invest if it appears neither NASA nor Congress want to buy commercial crew services. And you have to admit that would be the appearance if CCDev were zeroed out.

ISTM Congress has divided loyalties when it comes to paying to develop Commercial Crew.

If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

Yeah, I see no reason to suggest Congress is going to pass a law saying NASA must use only Orion.  I think that is likely trying to be more alarmist than anything.

But Martin, I think you are right that some in Congress are having issues or concerns about paying all the funds to develop something called "commercial", which the government does not own and NASA highlights how they cannot enforce the requirements they want.  I think these are fair feelings too and in the wake of Solyndra and others, to be expected.

I also strongly believe that the communication and explanation for commercial thus far, (what it is and what it is not, what it will cost the government why we are doing it and what is truly hoped to be gained in both short and long term and most importantly how) has been lacking and filled with mixed messages which clearly does not help the situation.

Four CC providers couldn't co-exist off the number of flights that NASA can afford to buy, which is why there will be a down-select at some point.

Until then, any skin that companies invest will be wasted for the companies that don't make it through. Seems a big risk, to me - and companies expect a bigger return for investing in a bigger risk.



For COTS, there were two participants. With an expectation of two CRS contracts (and, later, two signed contracts). If they can bring their systems online they will start to earn their return.



Nothing new here, but wherever you set the divide between all-NASA-funding and no-NASA-and-all-skin, I just don't see how NASA can avoid down-selecting CC in FY13.

[I can't help thinking that Congress would resolve this via the money "stolen" from Mars if it weren't for JWST's overrun. And, yes, I know about the wall between the two budgets. JWST overrun and CC needing more money is just too much.]

cheers, Martin

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #52 on: 04/03/2012 08:51 PM »
If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

If anyone has any thoughts on what that service might cost, I would be very interested to hear it.

cheers, Martin

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #53 on: 04/03/2012 09:53 PM »
If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

If anyone has any thoughts on what that service might cost, I would be very interested to hear it.

cheers, Martin
I seriously doubt any of the commercial crew folks are planning on it only happening between 2016-2020. Station is almost surely going to be extended beyond, to 2028 or so. Plus, there are future places where NASA may want commercial crew (and cargo) services, like an EML-1 exploration gateway (it'd be nice to use the SLS launches for other, large mission elements... having commercial crew/cargo handle some of the logistics would open up the trade space even with a constrained budget).

And, of course, as the timeline gets longer, the probability of companies like Bigelow (etc) fielding a station increases. There will be more opportunities, especially if Congress doesn't "suffocate commercial crew in its cradle" (between delayed funding, low funding, and additional onerous requirements). But no one is fielding anything that needs commercial crew anytime soon without the confidence that the capability is going to be there when they need it, and that means a commitment from NASA and Congress (at least in the near-term).
« Last Edit: 04/03/2012 09:56 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline OpsAnalyst

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #54 on: 04/04/2012 12:44 PM »

For COTS, there were two participants. With an expectation of two CRS contracts (and, later, two signed contracts).

There were three.  Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) was the original player along with SpaceX.

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #55 on: 04/04/2012 12:54 PM »

For COTS, there were two participants. With an expectation of two CRS contracts (and, later, two signed contracts).

There were three.  Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) was the original player along with SpaceX.

Yes, but Orbital were only brought in after RpK failed to meet their financial milestones. Still only two at a time, both of whom had reasonable expectation of a CRS contract if they were able to pull off their COTS milestones.

Cheers, Martin

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #56 on: 04/04/2012 01:02 PM »

For COTS, there were two participants. With an expectation of two CRS contracts (and, later, two signed contracts).

There were three.  Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) was the original player along with SpaceX. Two in the program, yes, so when RpK's SAA was terminated, Orbital came in. 

I mention it because RpK had difficulty meeting investment milestones.  Some of that was as a result of internal decisions at the time, but it is also instructive about the venture as a whole. 

I don't see any indication that Congress desires to 'zero-out' Commercial Crew, BTW.  The debates aren't about whether it should exist at this point.  They are about funding mechanisms, likelihood of success for multiple players given sole anchor tenant (which I prefer to "market"), overall cost given the number of players, legal impossibility of enforcing requirements up to the point that the FAR is invoked, questions about oversight/insight, etc.

And the _real_ debate is about whether we are collectively funding a new procurement mechanism for transportation to LEO while also maybe jump-starting an industry, or whether we are starting an industry that will also solve the LEO/ISS transportation issue.  Congress has shown willingness to fund (at least in part) the former, but is highly skeptical of the latter.  Rather than the issue of government vs. private investment (which is also pertinent), the "definition of commercial" is really about that distinction, which is not at all trivial.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2012 01:03 PM by OpsAnalyst »

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #57 on: 04/05/2012 02:45 PM »
If there was a single commercial provider (with MPCV & Soyuz as backups), how much would it cost per flight if they included development costs amortised over 8 flights (two per year over 2016-2020)?

If anyone has any thoughts on what that service might cost, I would be very interested to hear it.

cheers, Martin

Let's presume that the development cost of a Commercial Crew winner is roughly what NASA planned for CCDev (but did not get) or about $1 billion in round numbers.  Each launch might cost roughly $200 million (round numbers), so that adds another $1.6 billion.  The spacecraft payload itself, including mission costs (astronaut training, etc.) might come to $500 million per flight (a really wild guess - don't hit me), which would add another $8 billion.  That is a total of $10.6 billion, or $1.32 billion per flight (roughly what Shuttle cost).

Contrast that with Soyuz seat rental, which comes in at the equivalent of about $200 million per launch.

 - Ed Kyle   

Your numbers are too high. SpaceX and SNC said that they needed about $1B each to complete and test their spacecrafts. You might need another $500M-$1B for pad improvements and crew access for the Falcon 9 and Atlas V.  So developmental costs for 2 providers is about $3B. If you amortize the developmental costs over 10 years until 2027, you get about an additionnal $150M per flight (assuming one flight per provider per year). Most providers said that they can meet or beat Soyuz price (which is $62M per seat or $248M for 4 seats). So the total price is about $400M ($250M+$150M) per flight assuming two providers and assuming that each provider only gets one flight per year (NASA has yet to decide how many flights per year that it will need).

Of course, the development cost for commercial crew would have already been paid, so the annual cost for commercial crew operations is about $500M per year which matches the Soyuz per seat prices.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 05:24 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #58 on: 04/05/2012 03:43 PM »
They aren't going to build a new spacecraft every time, either. All 4 are designing a reusable spacecraft from the start, thus a new one doesn't need to be fabricated every time. (They may build a small fleet of them, then shut down production, ala Shuttle.) All 4 of them also intend to get business elsewhere, which is probably what allows them to be profitable on top of the NASA business. Falcon 9 is also likely to be significantly less expensive than a Atlas V 411 (and it's possible that within the next decade and a half, ULA may find a way to reduce Atlas V's costs, like going to a cheaper replacement for the RL-10 ala XCOR's engine or further streamlining operations... also, the increase in Atlas V launch frequency due to commercial crew and possibly cargo would help reduce its launch costs).

They all also intend to compete for cargo services in the next round, probably tripling or quadrupling the launch rate beyond 1 per year per provider, which obviously significantly changes your arithmetic.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #59 on: 04/05/2012 05:07 PM »
You are suggesting that the spacecraft, launch vehicle, launch services, astronaut training, all of it, will only cost $250 million per flight, excepting development costs?  That would be terrific if true, but I'm having trouble seeing it, based on costs of unmanned satellites, etc.  An Atlas 5 itself is going to chew up well more than half of that number.  Even unmanned satellite payloads typically cost more than the launch vehicle.  Crewed spacecraft cost even more.  Boeing isn't going to build a CST-100 for only $50-75 million.

 - Ed Kyle

HEFT had estimated that each commercial crew flights would cost about $313 million per flight. So $250M is in the right ball park. Gerst at one of the House hearings said that NASA expects to pay the same price for commercial crew operations as for Soyuz. So he said about $480M (4 x 60) per year. I am rounding it to $500M per year for 2 commercial crew flights.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 05:42 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #60 on: 04/05/2012 06:06 PM »
Their is a catch-22 with some of this. Private interests (ie. SpaceX) depend in part on CCDev funding. NASA being the one supplying the funds has increased influence over the requirements of what is fielded. I would be very curious if there was a way to extract the cost implications of that influence. (if any)

So in essence I am asking if anyone knows definitively a few examples of some NASA requirements placed upon SpaceX or others, that inflate the dev costs, requiring current and/ or future requested funding levels? (Not saying there is or isn't, just wondering)

The obvious implications being, that instead of searching for more money, perhaps it becomes more about how to engineer more cost effective solutions...After all, isn't that what playing in the free market is supposed to be about?
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 06:12 PM by rcoppola »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #61 on: 04/05/2012 06:52 PM »
Their is a catch-22 with some of this. Private interests (ie. SpaceX) depend in part on CCDev funding. NASA being the one supplying the funds has increased influence over the requirements of what is fielded. I would be very curious if there was a way to extract the cost implications of that influence. (if any)

So in essence I am asking if anyone knows definitively a few examples of some NASA requirements placed upon SpaceX or others, that inflate the dev costs, requiring current and/ or future requested funding levels? (Not saying there is or isn't, just wondering)

The obvious implications being, that instead of searching for more money, perhaps it becomes more about how to engineer more cost effective solutions...After all, isn't that what playing in the free market is supposed to be about?
Well, one obvious one is the need for test flights. They're significantly expensive. All the ISS visiting vehicle requirements are expensive to verify and test with multiple redundancy layers.

The free market isn't free. It still costs money to have test flights and meet requirements. "Oh, it's the free market, so I'll always be able to slam my fists on the table and demand they meet more requirements for half the funding and demand they explain why the schedule is slipping while I take forever to approve only half the funding the schedule is based on" seems to be the default approach for some in Congress.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 06:53 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #62 on: 04/05/2012 06:59 PM »
Their is a catch-22 with some of this. Private interests (ie. SpaceX) depend in part on CCDev funding. NASA being the one supplying the funds has increased influence over the requirements of what is fielded. I would be very curious if there was a way to extract the cost implications of that influence. (if any)

So in essence I am asking if anyone knows definitively a few examples of some NASA requirements placed upon SpaceX or others, that inflate the dev costs, requiring current and/ or future requested funding levels? (Not saying there is or isn't, just wondering)

The obvious implications being, that instead of searching for more money, perhaps it becomes more about how to engineer more cost effective solutions...After all, isn't that what playing in the free market is supposed to be about?

Wayne Hale adressed some of these issues more than a year ago in the following blog posts:
http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/trying-to-clean-up-a-mess/
http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-coming-train-wreck-for-commercial-human-spaceflight/
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 07:02 PM by yg1968 »

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #63 on: 04/05/2012 08:56 PM »
Their is a catch-22 with some of this. Private interests (ie. SpaceX) depend in part on CCDev funding. NASA being the one supplying the funds has increased influence over the requirements of what is fielded. I would be very curious if there was a way to extract the cost implications of that influence. (if any)

So in essence I am asking if anyone knows definitively a few examples of some NASA requirements placed upon SpaceX or others, that inflate the dev costs, requiring current and/ or future requested funding levels? (Not saying there is or isn't, just wondering)

The obvious implications being, that instead of searching for more money, perhaps it becomes more about how to engineer more cost effective solutions...After all, isn't that what playing in the free market is supposed to be about?

Wayne Hale adressed some of these issues more than a year ago in the following blog posts:
http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/trying-to-clean-up-a-mess/
http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-coming-train-wreck-for-commercial-human-spaceflight/
Yes, I forgot about that. Most excellent. Well, I'd love to see an audit done of the cost implications of specific requirements that could and should be dropped.
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Offline spectre9

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #64 on: 04/06/2012 01:13 PM »
This is just one of those times where NASA is trying to do too much concurrently.

I don't support them doing it this way.

It leads to cancellations and funding food fights.

JWST shouldn't be a priority, Hubble feels like yesterday to me and the astronomers should be fairly happy.

Orion/SLS shouldn't be a priority. As much as I love the exploration plans personally it shouldn't be on the top of the to do list.

Right at this moment NASA needs to make the best of their $100billion space station that has been in planning/construction for the best part of 30 years and is now finally operational.

If NASA will not fund commercial crew what they should be doing is quite simple.

Developing a spacecraft that doesn't need a Saturn V or a Shuttle stack to get astronauts into orbit.

They had one once upon a time.

1975.  8)


Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #65 on: 04/06/2012 05:00 PM »
The price of the Atlas V 401 is $187M according to this article:
http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1010/21maven/

The price of a cargo Dragon is about $80 million ($1.6B for 12 CRS flights = $133M per flight less the price of a Falcon 9 of about $50M).

Maybe SpaceX will be below $250M and Boeing will be above it but it should still average out to about $250M.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 05:13 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #66 on: 04/06/2012 05:04 PM »
The price of the Atlas V 401 is $187M according to this article:

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1010/21maven/

The price of a cargo Dragon is about $80 million ($1.6B for 12 flights = 133M less price of Falcon 9 of about $50M).

Maybe SpaceX will be below $250M and Boeing will be above it but it should still average out to about $250M.
A long-term contract of several flights (with a similar payload) would probably allow Boeing to negotiate a better deal than $187 million. I actually think that's too high.
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Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #67 on: 04/06/2012 05:22 PM »
You are suggesting that the spacecraft, launch vehicle, launch services, astronaut training, all of it, will only cost $250 million per flight, excepting development costs?  That would be terrific if true, but I'm having trouble seeing it, based on costs of unmanned satellites, etc.  An Atlas 5 itself is going to chew up well more than half of that number.  Even unmanned satellite payloads typically cost more than the launch vehicle.  Crewed spacecraft cost even more.  Boeing isn't going to build a CST-100 for only $50-75 million.

HEFT had estimated that each commercial crew flights would cost about $313 million per flight. So $250M is in the right ball park. Gerst at one of the House hearings said that NASA expects to pay the same price for commercial crew operations as for Soyuz. So he said about $480M (4 x 60) per year. I am rounding it to $500M per year for 2 commercial crew flights.

Such a low cost would be terrific if attained, but I'm skeptical.  Consider yesterday's GOES-R contract announcement:  $7.7 billion to build and fly just two generic weather satellites - and no crew on board!  The launch contract was $223 million per Atlas 5 (541 model), which gives some idea of an Atlas 411 cost.

Falcon 9 *should* cost less than Atlas 411, because it is a less-capable rocket.  But SpaceX does offer one cost-cutting possibility that Russia has leveraged for decades.  It would use essentially the same spacecraft and the same rocket to perform both the crew and the cargo missions.  Boeing and others may be planning the same, but none of this actually saves money unless a down-select to a single provider is made.

Don't forget that SpaceX's CRS contract is $1.6b / 12 = $133m per flight.

If they were negotiating that contract today it may be higher, but it does include an F9, and a Dragon with some basic Human Rating (enough for crew to enter it while berthed to ISS).

Crewed Dragon will obviously be more expensive, and possibly a lot more expensive. Perhaps a $180m premium ($313m - $133m) would cover it.

If amortising $1b of development costs over eight flights (assumption was down-select to a single supplier, two flights per year for four years), that would add $125m per flight (without accounting for interest).

Say $460m per flight, or $115m per seat if expanding the US crew complement to four. But Congress hasn't had to fund the development process.

cheers, Martin

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #68 on: 04/06/2012 05:30 PM »
Why does everyone keep assuming commercial crew will only be used for 4 years? That's a remarkably unrealistic assumption.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #69 on: 04/06/2012 05:33 PM »
I don't see any indication that Congress desires to 'zero-out' Commercial Crew, BTW.  The debates aren't about whether it should exist at this point.  They are about funding mechanisms, likelihood of success for multiple players given sole anchor tenant (which I prefer to "market"), overall cost given the number of players, legal impossibility of enforcing requirements up to the point that the FAR is invoked, questions about oversight/insight, etc.

Agreed (I said above that Congress has divided loyalties), but the discussion above has a certain interest all of it's own.


And the _real_ debate is about whether we are collectively funding a new procurement mechanism for transportation to LEO while also maybe jump-starting an industry, or whether we are starting an industry that will also solve the LEO/ISS transportation issue.  Congress has shown willingness to fund (at least in part) the former, but is highly skeptical of the latter.  Rather than the issue of government vs. private investment (which is also pertinent), the "definition of commercial" is really about that distinction, which is not at all trivial.

Agreed. I find myself wondering whether NASA really can retain all four players through the next development round.

Would be fascinated if you have any thoughts on that subject.

cheers, Martin

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #70 on: 04/06/2012 05:35 PM »
Even retaining three would be a good idea. That's kind of the plan either way, isn't it?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #71 on: 04/06/2012 05:39 PM »
Why does everyone keep assuming commercial crew will only be used for 4 years? That's a remarkably unrealistic assumption.

I'm not, but companies making investment decisions must base them on what they know.

Law currently only says extension to 2020.

cheers, Martin

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #72 on: 04/06/2012 05:41 PM »
Why does everyone keep assuming commercial crew will only be used for 4 years? That's a remarkably unrealistic assumption.

I'm not, but companies making investment decisions must base them on what they know.
...
Nope, they make investment decisions based on whatever they think is most likely and make a risk/benefit decision. Smart companies make investment decisions based on educated risks. No one investing in HSF is so risk-averse to assume that NASA would buy services for four flights per provider and then NEVER want commercial crew services again.

No one really believed ISS would be splashed in 2015 (though it was necessary for Constellation's budget to even come close to working), and likewise basically no one believes ISS will be splashed in 2020. Why would you judge commercial crew on the basis that ISS will be splashed in 2020, when essentially no one else thinks it would be?
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 05:53 PM by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline OpsAnalyst

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #73 on: 04/06/2012 06:42 PM »
I don't see any indication that Congress desires to 'zero-out' Commercial Crew, BTW.  The debates aren't about whether it should exist at this point.  They are about funding mechanisms, likelihood of success for multiple players given sole anchor tenant (which I prefer to "market"), overall cost given the number of players, legal impossibility of enforcing requirements up to the point that the FAR is invoked, questions about oversight/insight, etc.

Agreed (I said above that Congress has divided loyalties), but the discussion above has a certain interest all of it's own.


And the _real_ debate is about whether we are collectively funding a new procurement mechanism for transportation to LEO while also maybe jump-starting an industry, or whether we are starting an industry that will also solve the LEO/ISS transportation issue.  Congress has shown willingness to fund (at least in part) the former, but is highly skeptical of the latter.  Rather than the issue of government vs. private investment (which is also pertinent), the "definition of commercial" is really about that distinction, which is not at all trivial.

Agreed. I find myself wondering whether NASA really can retain all four players through the next development round.

Would be fascinated if you have any thoughts on that subject.

cheers, Martin

Thoughts?  I have plenty of thoughts.  Very few conclusions, though.  I'm mostly in a "track happenings and update the likely strategies" mode.  But since you asked...speaking for no one but me, and assuming you're talking about CCiCap?

WRT technical development - yes. Even under reduced funding.  That's an engineering statement, not a programmatic or business one.

WRT the politics X funding interaction, which is what I think you're really poking on - as both I and 51D Mascot noted elsewhere, there are unspent funds that were appropriated for FY 2012 that can roll into FY2013.  Adding those to the funding specified in the Authorization Act, you get about $900M available funds for 2013.  So the question is whether those funds are sufficient for 4...and the answer boils down to desired rate of development (which is asymptotic eventually, no matter how much money you throw at it). One point on which there is political consensus is that the country needs ISS transport sooner rather than later, which may tilt the argument to downselect sooner, depending on the shape of the aforementioned curve and where each company is on it - which is not always as straightforward as it seems from the outside.

On the other hand, if the US hammers out an agreement with the IPs to go to 2028 - and BTW it's in discussion but that's about all at the moment - then the "all that money for 3-4 years?!" political argument goes away and NASA might be willing to shell out a couple of more years of $$ to Roscosmos in a trade to slow development in order to keep all four players in the game...and Congress might have other things on its mind.  You pay either way - and the longer development takes, the more you pay - but it's all in the programmatic and political trade space.

Another factor that could play in there would be planning for disposition of the ISS.  Depending upon what is done with the vehicle and/or its components, there is room for 'reconfiguration' and 'reuse' and questions about transport back and forth - but again, that's all in the trade space.

There are potential "supplements" to funding - not just corporate funding ("skin in the game") but investment...for example if the SpaceX IPO happens then SpaceX could conceivably walk away from gov't funding - Ditto Bezos, who might just as soon play on his own.  The downside is that doing so leaves more money on the table for competitors. Have no insight into Blue Origin's thoughts on the matter but SpaceX would make that decision in light of business strategy.  It's in their best interest to be "first to market" as long as possible, assuming that is indeed how it turns out.  Leaving money around to speed development among competitors appears counterproductive.

I'm guessing (and it is purely a guess) we're going to end up with a compromise amount going to CC - maybe $600M? - which will get it to $1B available in 2013.  That might be enough to keep all 4 in the game - but there are a couple of wildcards; one is Congressional consensus about 2 vs. 4 and I haven't checked lately on how that's forming up...the second is "estimated probability of sequestration"...if Congress believes that our collective butts are going to be in a sling come January they may reason that 4 aren't going to make it anyway...in other words it hastens and gives more force to the "fiscally constrained" argument to downselect sooner.

I have to say, though, that I'm doubtful sequestration will happen unless we get a whole slew of Tea Partiers in, and the momentum for that "movement" seems to have abated a bit in the midst of the Republican Presidential campaign debacle.  I think it's more likely that 'sequestration avoidance maneuvers' will be on full display beginning immediately after the election - with the DoD leading the charge from the agency side.

All that is my over-long way of saying "I can't tell yet how I think this is going to go."

;) 
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 06:51 PM by OpsAnalyst »

Offline OpsAnalyst

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #74 on: 04/06/2012 06:44 PM »
Quote from: OpsAnalyst

All that is my over-long way of saying "I can't tell yet how I think this is going to go."
;) 


Heavens, I do go on.  Chris if this is OT, just whack it.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 06:45 PM by OpsAnalyst »

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #75 on: 04/06/2012 06:51 PM »
Even retaining three would be a good idea. That's kind of the plan either way, isn't it?

Ed Mango and Phil McAllister have said that they wanted to keep competition as long as possible. But there is pressure from some in Congress to down select. I hope that the Commercial Crew Office sticks with their original plan to keep competition going as long as possible but we won't know for sure until August.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 06:58 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #76 on: 04/06/2012 07:18 PM »
Even retaining three would be a good idea. That's kind of the plan either way, isn't it?

Ed Mango and Phil McAllister have said that they wanted to keep competition as long as possible. But there is pressure from some in Congress to down select. I hope that the Commercial Crew Office sticks with their original plan to keep competition going as long as possible but we won't know for sure until August.
Down-selecting to at least three for the next stage (which includes optional milestones that include test flights) seems perfectly reasonable, and I thought that was the plan. Down-select to at least two actual ISS crew service providers (with three probably with the capability, but only two selected) would be the step after that. I think that was what NASA has been communicating for a while, now.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 07:33 PM by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #77 on: 04/06/2012 07:30 PM »
Thoughts?  I have plenty of thoughts.  Very few conclusions, though.  I'm mostly in a "track happenings and update the likely strategies" mode.  But since you asked...speaking for no one but me, and assuming you're talking about CCiCap?
[...]

Since the CCiCap base period straddles 3 fiscal years, you could also use funds from FY2014 to pay for it if necessary (CCiCap should end in April of 2014). Although, it's likely that most of the FY 2014 funding is meant for the CCiCap optional milestones period (or its FAR equivalent).

Also, you say that some commercial crew FY2012 funds have not be allocated and you are right since about 75% of the funding for commercial crew for FY 2012 is reserved for CCiCap according to Brent Jett and Ed Mango. My understanding is that once the CCiCap awards are granted, all of that money will be considered to have been allocated in FY 2012. SAAs are different from FAR contracts in the sense that the money does not have to be paid to the commercial providers in FY 2012. It will only be paid once the milestones are met. But for budget purposes, it's as if it had spent in FY 2012.

For the optional milestones CCiCap period which would start in April 2014, NASA anticipates to fund each provider $500M per year. This suggests that a down selection is anticipated in 2014. But since the CCiCap period includes an unmanned test flight, it's possible that one of the losers of the down selection process could still compete for commercial cargo in the next CRS round.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 08:03 PM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #78 on: 04/06/2012 07:36 PM »
Even retaining three would be a good idea. That's kind of the plan either way, isn't it?

Ed Mango and Phil McAllister have said that they wanted to keep competition as long as possible. But there is pressure from some in Congress to down select. I hope that the Commercial Crew Office sticks with their original plan to keep competition going as long as possible but we won't know for sure until August.
Down-selecting to at least three for the next stage (which includes optional milestones that include manned test flights, right?) seems perfectly reasonable, and I thought that was the plan. Down-select to at least two actual ISS crew service providers (with three probably with the capability, but only two selected) would be the step after that. I think that was what NASA has been communicating for a while, now.

They have never said that outright. There are some indications that this could be the case because they keep saying that they want "multiples" participants. Some of their charts show 3 boxes which also implies that there would be 3 participants but this more a guess than anything else because they have been purposely been vague on this issue.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2012 07:59 PM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #80 on: 04/07/2012 06:06 AM »
Don't forget that SpaceX's CRS contract is $1.6b / 12 = $133m per flight.

But let's be realistic.  Look at this company, at how many employees it has and how much they must be paid.  This company has to have burned through the better part of three-quarters of a billion dollars during the past three years, with only two launches to show for it.  NASA may be paying SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 flights, but I don't see how that will cover the bills.

 - Ed Kyle
If they don't get any of the many other launches on their manifest, then I agree. But is that a reasonable assumption?
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #81 on: 04/07/2012 01:30 PM »
Don't forget that SpaceX's CRS contract is $1.6b / 12 = $133m per flight.

If they were negotiating that contract today it may be higher...


But let's be realistic.  Look at this company, at how many employees it has and how much they must be paid.  This company has to have burned through the better part of three-quarters of a billion dollars during the past three years, with only two launches to show for it.  NASA may be paying SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 flights, but I don't see how that will cover the bills.

Agreed. I've also edited your quote to include the beginning of the following sentence, which made exactly the same point.  ;)

Still don't see how the price would be comparable to the "$7.7b for two launches" example that you mentioned.  ;)

cheers, Martin

Offline MP99

Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #82 on: 04/07/2012 01:54 PM »
Quote from: OpsAnalyst

All that is my over-long way of saying "I can't tell yet how I think this is going to go."
;) 

Heavens, I do go on.  Chris if this is OT, just whack it.  Thanks.

Not likely, Chris likes to keep the signal above the noise. Many thanks.

cheers, Martin

PS that's not a dig at anyone.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: What if CCDev is zeroed out?
« Reply #83 on: 04/07/2012 09:03 PM »
Quote from: OpsAnalyst

All that is my over-long way of saying "I can't tell yet how I think this is going to go."
;) 

Heavens, I do go on.  Chris if this is OT, just whack it.  Thanks.

Not likely, Chris likes to keep the signal above the noise. Many thanks.

cheers, Martin

PS that's not a dig at anyone.
Yes, I for one appreciate Mary's comments in general. Definitely on the "signal" side.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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