Author Topic: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision  (Read 138033 times)


Offline Orbiter

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An excellent article as ever Chris. I had the pleasure of meeting some of these guys back in 2012 when NASA was handing off Atlantis to KSCVC. They had probably the least amount of people visiting their booth (as compared to Boeing and SpaceX), but they were incredibly passionate people. I hope they get some space time out of the program.

Fight on baby orbiter, fight on.
Attended space missions: STS-114, STS-124, STS-128, STS-135, Atlas V "Curiosity", Delta IV Heavy NROL-15, Atlas V MUOS-2, Delta IV Heavy NROL-37, SpaceX CRS-9, SpaceX JCSAT-16, Atlas V GOES-R, SpaceX SES-11.

Offline Chris Bergin

Thanks! I have to say, I was very happy to see this happen.

"Dissimilar redundancy".

Offline mkent

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There goes 2017.  We'll be lucky to hit 2018 now.

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It was almost universally expected that NASA would select Dream Chaser alongside SpaceXís Dragon V2...

Universally expected?  No.  Not even close.  It was expected only by casual observers.  Aerospace professionals expected Boeing and SpaceX (in that order) with Sierra Nevada a very distant third.

Offline Chris Bergin


There goes 2017.  We'll be lucky to hit 2018 now.

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It was almost universally expected that NASA would select Dream Chaser alongside SpaceXís Dragon V2...

Universally expected?  No.  Not even close.  It was expected only by casual observers.  Aerospace professionals expected Boeing and SpaceX (in that order) with Sierra Nevada a very distant third.

I wouldn't call the large amount of people I know as "casual observers" so you're inaccurate to make such a representation.

Offline tobi453

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I guess this means, that all CCtCap work is stopped for now? As Boeing has finished all the CCiCap milestones, there are now without NASA money. They now need to continue their program on their own for the coming 3 months.

SpaceX however, is already late with CCiCap and the inflight abort test is already planned for January, so I think this delay will have more impact on Boeing than on SpaceX.

Offline mkent

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There goes 2017.  We'll be lucky to hit 2018 now.

Quote
It was almost universally expected that NASA would select Dream Chaser alongside SpaceXís Dragon V2...

Universally expected?  No.  Not even close.  It was expected only by casual observers.  Aerospace professionals expected Boeing and SpaceX (in that order) with Sierra Nevada a very distant third.

I wouldn't call the large amount of people I know as "casual observers" so you're inaccurate to make such a representation.

I'm trying to be polite while differentiating between aerospace engineers and the general public.  It's at least as accurate as "...almost universally expected..."

Talking to other aerospace engineers throughout the industry, one phrase regarding SpaceX and Sierra Nevada kept coming up regarding Commercial Crew, "They don't know what they don't know."  SpaceX earned the second spot with cargo Dragon.  Sierra Nevada has flown nothing remotely comparable.

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I guess this means, that all CCtCap work is stopped for now?

NASA will likely issue a stop-work order on Monday, if not earlier.

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They now need to continue their program on their own for the coming 3 months.

I don't think that's allowed during a protest.

Offline collectSPACE

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I wouldn't call the large amount of people I know as "casual observers" so you're inaccurate to make such a representation.

I know there were a good number of informed people who strongly believed SNC would be selected, but to say it was "almost universally expected" seems to be overstating the situation. I know a great many people who thought [insert your favorite company here] would win. The only universal expectation seemed to be that there was no clear winner(s).
« Last Edit: 09/26/2014 10:35 PM by collectSPACE »

Offline nadreck


Quote
They now need to continue their program on their own for the coming 3 months.

I don't think that's allowed during a protest.
First off it is not a matter of "allowed" they are corporations not fully funded agencies of the government, there is nothing to stop them using their own resources, risking the outcome of the protest, and continuing.

Second SpaceX has a bunch of stuff left to do on the previous contract.

Third, while I don't expect Boeing to go ahead significantly until this plays out, I honestly wasn't expecting much out of them over the next few months anyway.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline rcoppola

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Who we or anyone else thought were going to win is somewhat irrelevant at this point.

While I have supported NASA's decision, while being very disappointed DC was not chosen, I have became increasingly suspect as NASA has been less then forthcoming as to their selection documentation.
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Offline anonymous1138

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #10 on: 09/26/2014 10:59 PM »
Excerpted:
I'm trying to be polite while differentiating between aerospace engineers and the general public.  It's at least as accurate as "...almost universally expected..."

Talking to other aerospace engineers throughout the industry, one phrase regarding SpaceX and Sierra Nevada kept coming up regarding Commercial Crew, "They don't know what they don't know."  SpaceX earned the second spot with cargo Dragon.  Sierra Nevada has flown nothing remotely comparable.

What you heard as an aerospace engineering professional would be very different, then, from what I heard as an aerospace engineering professional. One can also extrapolate a bit about what they know based on what they actually did, with real hardware.

Offline Chris Bergin


I'm trying to be polite while differentiating between aerospace engineers and the general public.

And that was the problem I had with your comment. I was not talking about the general public.

Look, I know the Boeing guys are very sensitive over it all, as seen with poll spamming on NASAWatch, but I'm reporting what has been my experience on this.

I'm reporting based on MY information. I'm sure other sites will do likewise.

It's easy to solve via a small change, but the context will remain.

Offline bunker9603

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #12 on: 09/26/2014 11:06 PM »

There goes 2017.  We'll be lucky to hit 2018 now.

Quote
It was almost universally expected that NASA would select Dream Chaser alongside SpaceXís Dragon V2...

Universally expected?  No.  Not even close.  It was expected only by casual observers.  Aerospace professionals expected Boeing and SpaceX (in that order) with Sierra Nevada a very distant third.

Would the "Aerospace Professionals" you are referring to happen to work for Boeing?

Offline tobi453

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #13 on: 09/26/2014 11:06 PM »
Chris, I didn't say that. ;) You mixed up the quotes.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2014 11:07 PM by tobi453 »

Offline Chris Bergin

And here's the presser! I'll add some to the article, but here's the full thing:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Krystal Scordo
(O) 720-407-3192
media.ssg@sncorp.com

Sierra Nevada Corporation Challenges Award of NASAís
Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract

SPARKS, Nev. (Sept. 26, 2014) Ė Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today that it has filed a legal challenge to the award of contracts to Boeing and SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program.  The CCtCap program will restore U.S. transportation capability to the International Space Station. 

SNC, Boeing and SpaceX submitted separate proposals for the CCtCap program.  While all three competitors were found to be compliant and awardable under the criteria set forth in the request for proposal (RFP), only two proposals were selected (Boeing and SpaceX), one of which would result in a substantial increased cost to the public despite near equivalent technical and past performance scores.

In its 51 year history SNC has never filed a legal challenge to a government contract award.  However, in the case of the CCtCap award, NASAís own Source Selection Statement and debrief indicate that there are serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process.  SNC, therefore, feels that there is no alternative but to institute a legal challenge.

The company believes that, in this time of critical budget limits, it is more important than ever to deliver the best value to the American public. With the current awards, the U.S. government would spend up to $900 million more at the publicly announced contracted level for a space program equivalent to the program that SNC proposed. Given those facts, we believe that a thorough review must be conducted of the award decision.  The company feels it owes this extra effort to their employees, the over 30 Dream Team U.S. industry partners, 10 university partners, 10 international space agency and industry partners Ė all of whom believe in Dream Chaserģ and that the proposal that was submitted by SNC is the best choice for NASA and the American public.

Importantly, the official NASA solicitation for the CCtCap contract prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria for the proposals, setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance.  SNCís Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition. SNCís proposal also achieved mission suitability scores comparable to the other two proposals.  In fact, out of a possible 1,000 total points, the highest ranked and lowest ranked offerors were separated by a minor amount of total points and other factors were equally comparable.

SNCís Dream Chaser design provides a wider range of capabilities and value including preserving the heritage of the space shuttle program through its design as a piloted, reusable, lifting-body spacecraft that embodies the advanced technologies of today and flexibility that enables the innovations of the future.  It was also the only vehicle remaining in the Commercial Crew Program that was not a capsule.

SNCís filing seeks a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities. SNC takes the nationís human spaceflight capability and taxpayerís money very seriously. SNC believes the result of further evaluation of the proposals submitted will be that America ends up with a more capable vehicle, at a much lower cost, with a robust and sustainable future.

Offline Chris Bergin

Chris, I didn't say that. ;) You mixed up the quotes.

Whoops, sorry ;)

Corrected.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #16 on: 09/26/2014 11:12 PM »
I am somewhat alarmed by the controversy which DC has raised, and rings a sour tone.

In a space industry where progress needs to be fought for, do we truly need to bring out the campaign banners for a lifting body derived craft? Yes, the idea is visionary. Is it safe, practical, reliable? Debatable. Prior NASA experience with vertical takeoff horizontal landing lifting bodies has resulted in aerospace disasters of which NASA's present status cannot afford to endure.

Who would get pushed out for the… ah, shinier option to get a turn (I don't doubt DC is innovative, but "innovative" or even "inspired" does not mean "the best tool for the job")? The morbid answer is SpaceX; Boeing is unassailable.

Sierra Nevada Cooperation does not have the long-term manned spaceflight/colonisation visions that SpaceX possesses. CCtCap is going to be an enabler for SpaceX, along with a perfect opportunity for Boeing to conduct some role fulfilment of its own.


It seems to be a terrible thing to jeopardise the possibility of a second space race just for the sake of some cursory aerodynamic properties.

I would argue (and this is purely my own opinion), that SNC has nothing to bring to the future other than shuttle nostalgia. You have a reliable capsule and a reliable innovative capsule which will test technology critical for Martian soft landing in a useful terrestrial application. Exactly what does the DC tell us about the physics of re-entry that previous lifting body spacecraft have not?

Upon this basis, Dream Chaser "showing her fight" is completely irresponsible; the craft has other windows of opportunities with other agencies - it seems ridiculous for SNC to squander time and money in cooperate one-upmanship when there's a far wider vision at stake here. But that's just my own opinion.


Edit: If I had any evidence that would prove that a successful contract contest would leave both SpaceX and SNC in the running, then I might reconsider my opinion. Right now, I'm just skeptical this will do anything but slander the program.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2014 11:16 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline jamesh9000

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #17 on: 09/26/2014 11:22 PM »
Well there you go, the Dream Chaser proposal was $3.3B

Now we know.

Offline TomH

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #18 on: 09/26/2014 11:23 PM »
Talking to other aerospace engineers throughout the industry, one phrase regarding SpaceX and Sierra Nevada kept coming up regarding Commercial Crew, "They don't know what they don't know."

Hmmm, sounds like Donald Rumsfeld, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. A bit cryptic to those not in the know  ;) You imply that the unknowns are unknown to SNC, while the same unknowns are known to you. IOW, you have inside understanding to which SNC is not privy. If that's the case give us the details. Generalized statements, to be meaningful, must be supported by factual detail. If you posess the gnostic ontology, please reveal that secret truth and enlighten those of us who are only casual observers.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2014 11:27 PM by TomH »

Offline bunker9603

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #19 on: 09/26/2014 11:24 PM »
If SNC prevails with their law suit, what would that mean for Space X? (Assuming Boeing is untouchable in all this)


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