Author Topic: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012  (Read 30587 times)

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #60 on: 08/31/2012 02:46 AM »

Jim?  erioladastra?

All good questions.  Yes, you could make an argument that if you took all the money and put it on one company you might get there faster.  Or if you took the SNC money and put on 1 or 2, you would likely get there faster.  One issue with going to 1 is that if there is a problem (e.g., SpaceX flames out or has failures or decides to focus elsewhere or...just examples, not picking on them) you are screwed.  Boeing would likely say forget it with no money and fold up shop - you are not going to restart easily.  SNC might continue but who knows if they would survive on their own or keep slowly cooking in the background.  Plus having a competition has the companies trying to keep their costs down and schedule tight.  But in the end there will only be one (people can ergue otherwise but if we want to get there before 2020 we have to focus on 1 in the current budget climate on 1 around 2014).  So will the end result be cheaper than if threw the money at only one?  In my opinion, no.  That is because NASA is specifying the requirements - it is not a case where the companies are building their vehicle and then seeing which NASA prefers.  NASA has laid out detailed requirements that are going to be VERY pricey to meet.  So in the end you wont end up with much savings.  So your only benefit is to have a fall back for a longer time frame.

Interesting but very worrisome comments. It also confirms what I feared might happen, commercial crew is becoming less and less commercial and more and more like any other government program with very detailed requirements and no competition among providers. The pricey requirements that you mention (which likely relate to a very involved certification program) might also explain why Blue Origin dropped out and why SpaceX is less enthusiastic about the program than you would normally expect. The opponents of commercial crew (such as chairman Wolf) lost the initial battle (with the passage of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act) but will have won the war (if only one expensive provider remains in 2014). If this happens, commercial crew will have been a lost opportunity.

Hopefully, it's not to late to reverse course before 2014. For one thing NASA should refuse to down select to one commercial provider for CTS regardless of the funding levels from Congress. Secondly, CTS and CRS2 should be either combined or awarded at the same time in order to benefit from economies of scale. Thirdly, NASA should go ahead with the CCiCap optional milestones and a lite certification phase (i.e., stick to the COTS model).

Commercial was never commercial.  You should have learned that long ago.  Sure, there is some capital funding but the majority always has and always will be government funded, including development and operations. 

If it was something different than just a government program, you would have multiple external customers who are also paying.  If there was truly a vast market that the special interests cited in trying to get their piece of the government pie (all the while trying to shame and suggest that is all "old space" is interested in) they would have been doing it themselves and on a much quicker timetable because of the potential of the market. 

NASA, when picking up so much of the tab for development and operations has every right to levy the requirements *they* believe are valid. 

It is time you and everyone else saw reality and accepted it.  This always has been just another program dressed as something different and one that senior NASA officials could never clearly define.  It is not the fault of congress, that is a failure of NASA by not communicating what this was and up until very recently openly advertising mutually exclusive reasons for the existance of the program and playing to that audience. 

There was ever only going to be one at the end and the claims of competition, etc doing something for this is also just another show.  Competition could have still happened early and up to a point, just like every other program, and other incentives could have provided what "competition" is now be used to justify.  However, the result would have been that one provider much sooner. 

Offline beancounter

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #61 on: 08/31/2012 02:53 AM »

Jim?  erioladastra?

All good questions.  Yes, you could make an argument that if you took all the money and put it on one company you might get there faster.  Or if you took the SNC money and put on 1 or 2, you would likely get there faster.  One issue with going to 1 is that if there is a problem (e.g., SpaceX flames out or has failures or decides to focus elsewhere or...just examples, not picking on them) you are screwed.  Boeing would likely say forget it with no money and fold up shop - you are not going to restart easily.  SNC might continue but who knows if they would survive on their own or keep slowly cooking in the background.  Plus having a competition has the companies trying to keep their costs down and schedule tight.  But in the end there will only be one (people can ergue otherwise but if we want to get there before 2020 we have to focus on 1 in the current budget climate on 1 around 2014).  So will the end result be cheaper than if threw the money at only one?  In my opinion, no.  That is because NASA is specifying the requirements - it is not a case where the companies are building their vehicle and then seeing which NASA prefers.  NASA has laid out detailed requirements that are going to be VERY pricey to meet.  So in the end you wont end up with much savings.  So your only benefit is to have a fall back for a longer time frame.

Interesting but very worrisome comments. It also confirms what I feared might happen, commercial crew is becoming less and less commercial and more and more like any other government program with very detailed requirements and no competition among providers. The pricey requirements that you mention (which likely relate to a very involved certification program) might also explain why Blue Origin dropped out and why SpaceX is less enthusiastic about the program than you would normally expect. The opponents of commercial crew (such as chairman Wolf) lost the initial battle with the passage of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act but will have won the war if only one expensive provider remains in 2014. If this happens, commercial crew will have been a lost opportunity.

Hopefully, it's not to late to reverse course before 2014. For one thing, NASA should refuse to down select to one commercial provider for certification and CTS regardless of the funding levels from Congress. Secondly, CTS and CRS2 should be either combined or awarded at the same time in order to benefit from economies of scale. Thirdly, NASA should go ahead with the CCiCap optional milestones and a lite certification phase (i.e., stick to the COTS model).

No this round is still being run under an SAA and is milestone based which limits NASA 'oversight' to more partnership arrangements (my understanding!).
I haven't heard of any of the companies involved being dissatisfied with these arrangements.  When it looked like a FAR agreement, yes there was signficant disquiet.
I don't believe NASA wants only a single provider and by the time we get toward the end of this round, I think there'll be sufficient evidence (opportunities!) to support 2.  JM2CW

yg1968  If you think that SAA's are just another dressed up program, think again and check the dollars that have flowed to COTS and CCDev, CCiCap compared to say Cx, Orion/MPCV, and what has been achieved, delivered.  NASA are paying for development of a capability, but commercial is putting in their own funds as well.  If you can't see the difference well that's probably 'cause you don't want to see.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #62 on: 08/31/2012 02:58 AM »

Commercial was never commercial.  You should have learned that long ago.  Sure, there is some capital funding but the majority always has and always will be government funded, including development and operations. 

If it was something different than just a government program,

For NASA, commercial is not defined as where the money comes from and how much but how the services are procured.  For commercial procurements, NASA buys a service vs hardware.  The service is also available "commercially" in a similar form to other agencies, organizations, companies, persons, etc.  NASA is not involved in the day to day/nuts and bolts working of the project but at a much higher level.  Spacecraft launch services is an example of a commercial procurement.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #63 on: 08/31/2012 03:07 AM »
No this round is still being run under an SAA and is milestone based which limits NASA 'oversight' to more partnership arrangements (my understanding!).
I haven't heard of any of the companies involved being dissatisfied with these arrangements.  When it looked like a FAR agreement, yes there was signficant disquiet.
I don't believe NASA wants only a single provider and by the time we get toward the end of this round, I think there'll be sufficient evidence (opportunities!) to support 2.  JM2CW

yg1968  If you think that SAA's are just another dressed up program, think again and check the dollars that have flowed to COTS and CCDev, CCiCap compared to say Cx, Orion/MPCV, and what has been achieved, delivered.  NASA are paying for development of a capability, but commercial is putting in their own funds as well.  If you can't see the difference well that's probably 'cause you don't want to see.

Yes I know and agree with all of that. I am not concerned about the CCiCap base period and CPC (i.e., phase 1 of certification). But I am concerned of what will happen in 2014. For one thing, the CCiCap optional milestones (which are under SAAs) aren't a given and might not be exercised at all in 2014 and later. Ed Mango made that clear during the August 8th forum. Secondly, I don't think that phase 2 of the certification (which will be under FAR) in 2014 is projected to be a lite certification as was originally hoped and expected. I believe that NASA is currently leaning towards a much more involved phase 2 of certification. In a nutshell, what worries me is what happens in 2014 and later. Like I said, there is still time to reverse course since I don't believe that the current plans for commercial crew development in 2014 are set in stone.
« Last Edit: 08/31/2012 05:45 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #64 on: 08/31/2012 12:04 PM »

Commercial was never commercial.  You should have learned that long ago.  Sure, there is some capital funding but the majority always has and always will be government funded, including development and operations. 

If it was something different than just a government program,

For NASA, commercial is not defined as where the money comes from and how much but how the services are procured.  For commercial procurements, NASA buys a service vs hardware.  The service is also available "commercially" in a similar form to other agencies, organizations, companies, persons, etc.  NASA is not involved in the day to day/nuts and bolts working of the project but at a much higher level.  Spacecraft launch services is an example of a commercial procurement.

That is semantics Jim and you know it.  You also are aware of the "creating a whole new industry", "we need multiple providers", the "vast market", etc spin that was given for so long....which contrasts NASA just ultimately using a *slightly* different method of procurement. 

Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #65 on: 08/31/2012 12:13 PM »

That is semantics Jim and you know it.  You also are aware of the "creating a whole new industry", "we need multiple providers", the "vast market", etc spin that was given for so long....which contrasts NASA just ultimately using a *slightly* different method of procurement. 


Not really.  Those are just side benefits.  It doesn't change the fact that commercial crew procurement is vastly different from MPCV.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #66 on: 08/31/2012 05:18 PM »


That is semantics Jim and you know it.  You also are aware of the "creating a whole new industry", "we need multiple providers", the "vast market", etc spin that was given for so long....which contrasts NASA just ultimately using a *slightly* different method of procurement. 


Not really. It is sort of the difference between building your own car or renting a taxi/limo. NASA can set requirements, but does not own the product and it is up to the company to decide how to meet said requirements. With Orion, if NASA determines what the best way is and implements it (say requiring a seat be made of Corinthian leather). With commercial NASA could set say flammability and safety requirement but the company would need to meet them (i.e. other materials could be used if they meet this requirement).

In addition this can be much cheaper than building and maintaining your own rocket, and its workforce since you are utilizing commercial rockets that already have other customers. Atlas and Falcon 9 have users other than NASA HSF.  This also is easier for the companies to change suppliers and procedures. Boeing decided who supplied the thrusters for the CST-100, not NASA.

NASA has input, but not total control. It also makes it possible for a company to risk developing their own spacecraft in the future (i.e.  They could get a NASA contract) and reduces the hassle of improving existing spacecraft (the company can invest its own money instead of being forced to ask Congress “may I?”).

Offline baldusi

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #67 on: 08/31/2012 08:28 PM »
That is semantics Jim and you know it.  You also are aware of the "creating a whole new industry", "we need multiple providers", the "vast market", etc spin that was given for so long....which contrasts NASA just ultimately using a *slightly* different method of procurement. 
It's a whole different method. The requirements are defined in the beginning. No changing of goal post. No specific solutions dictated. The commercial is to prevent feature/requirement creep and specific solutions from NASA side.

Offline DaveH62

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #68 on: 09/01/2012 03:25 AM »


That is semantics Jim and you know it.  You also are aware of the "creating a whole new industry", "we need multiple providers", the "vast market", etc spin that was given for so long....which contrasts NASA just ultimately using a *slightly* different method of procurement. 


Not really. It is sort of the difference between building your own car or renting a taxi/limo. NASA can set requirements, but does not own the product and it is up to the company to decide how to meet said requirements. With Orion, if NASA determines what the best way is and implements it (say requiring a seat be made of Corinthian leather). With commercial NASA could set say flammability and safety requirement but the company would need to meet them (i.e. other materials could be used if they meet this requirement).

In addition this can be much cheaper than building and maintaining your own rocket, and its workforce since you are utilizing commercial rockets that already have other customers. Atlas and Falcon 9 have users other than NASA HSF.  This also is easier for the companies to change suppliers and procedures. Boeing decided who supplied the thrusters for the CST-100, not NASA.

NASA has input, but not total control. It also makes it possible for a company to risk developing their own spacecraft in the future (i.e.  They could get a NASA contract) and reduces the hassle of improving existing spacecraft (the company can invest its own money instead of being forced to ask Congress “may I?”).

It's the difference between building your own car versus buying one from GM. Look at the cost difference to NASA vs Ares.
Build your own car or have someone build you a car to your specs or buy a car that works well for most consumers. No offense, but I wouldn't buy a Pathfinder car, no matter how well you designed it. The cost would be many times a GM and the quality would not be as high.
As for not commercial, the rocket service provider for CRS-1 has 25 commercial payload flights, besides their 12 NASA flights. How many commercial SLS flights are in the works? It is a difference that makes a difference.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #69 on: 09/13/2012 02:46 AM »
September 12, 2012 Release of RFP for CPC [i.e., phase 1 of certification]:
http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/page.cfm?ID=48

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #70 on: 09/13/2012 10:04 AM »
September 12, 2012 Release of RFP for CPC [i.e., phase 1 of certification]:
http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/page.cfm?ID=48

Interesting documents. I'm either not reading this correctly or something very strange is happening.

IIRC NASA talked a lot that while development had up till now been been by funded SAA certification would be under FAR 23 yet (certainly for phase 1) the RFP makes no obvious reference to FAR 23 but FAR 48 instead. The contract is also a Firm Fixed Price.

It was my understanding that given the level of control FAR 23 gives NASA they are normally set up as Cost Plus Award contracts because of the (potentially unlimited) amount of work the contractor could end up doing if NASA compels them to meet a requirement.

Not sure what this means.*if* I'm reading this right NASA may have found a middle ground with *enough* control to ensure safety with enough limitations to not strangle the companies concerned.

No doubt Jim or 51dMascot can confirm or deny this idea but without a fairly strong background in reading the FAR's (all 2000 pages) I can't be sure.

I think it looks quite hopeful.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #71 on: 09/13/2012 03:47 PM »
This effort is a paper only contract. But one of the reports is very interesting. The Alternate Standards report. This seems to be the "this is our requirements that meet the intent of the NASA requirements and why they would be just as good or better". Other items are mainly the plans to do certification and the reviews and other data products to support the reviews in the plans. It should be easily a fixed price for all of this.


Edit :fixed typo
« Last Edit: 09/13/2012 03:48 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline erioladastra

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #72 on: 09/14/2012 12:51 AM »
September 12, 2012 Release of RFP for CPC [i.e., phase 1 of certification]:
http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/page.cfm?ID=48

Interesting documents. I'm either not reading this correctly or something very strange is happening.

IIRC NASA talked a lot that while development had up till now been been by funded SAA certification would be under FAR 23 yet (certainly for phase 1) the RFP makes no obvious reference to FAR 23 but FAR 48 instead. The contract is also a Firm Fixed Price.

It was my understanding that given the level of control FAR 23 gives NASA they are normally set up as Cost Plus Award contracts because of the (potentially unlimited) amount of work the contractor could end up doing if NASA compels them to meet a requirement.

Not sure what this means.*if* I'm reading this right NASA may have found a middle ground with *enough* control to ensure safety with enough limitations to not strangle the companies concerned.

No doubt Jim or 51dMascot can confirm or deny this idea but without a fairly strong background in reading the FAR's (all 2000 pages) I can't be sure.

I think it looks quite hopeful.

CPC will be a fixed price contract.  The intent is to have the partners deliver some key documents for initial review to jump start the certification process.  For example, they will deliver their certification plan.  NASA will review and say "this good", "that bad".  A key thing, since this is under a contract, that the "this good" they can carry that into future phases as done and agreed.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #73 on: 09/27/2012 04:02 AM »
Here is a link to the September 19 Presentation on CPC (phase 1 of certification):

http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/document_file_get.cfm?docid=651

I have also attached the file in PDF format.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2012 04:05 AM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #74 on: 09/27/2012 04:07 AM »
List of interested parties in CPC is interesting. It includes Blue Origin and ATK.

Quote
Certification Products Contract
List of Interested Parties

1.   Apogee Systems
2.   ARES Corporation
3.   ATDL, Inc.
4.   ATK
5.   Blue Origin
6.   Boeing
7.   M&B Engineering
8.   Orbital Commerce Project
9.   Sierra Nevada Corporation
10.   Spacedesign Corporation
11.   SpaceX
12.   Space and Defense Engineering Services Company, LLC
13.   Special Aerospace Services, LLC
14.   4W Solutions, Inc.

http://procurement.jsc.nasa.gov/ccpcpc/
« Last Edit: 09/27/2012 04:33 AM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #75 on: 09/27/2012 04:17 AM »
Here is a link to the September 19 Presentation on CPC (phase 1 of certification):

http://commercialcrew.nasa.gov/document_file_get.cfm?docid=651

I have also attached the file in PDF format.

Of interest is that phase 2 of certification would start in May 2014.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #76 on: 10/05/2012 02:13 PM »
An article on NASA.gov on the September 19th CPC conference:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/cpc-conference.html

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial Crew Program Forum - Aug 8, 2012
« Reply #77 on: 10/16/2012 05:30 PM »
CPC proposals were due last Friday (October 12, 2012). CPC award should be February 7th 2013.
http://procurement.jsc.nasa.gov/ccpcpc/schedule.asp

Here is the updated timeline from Amendment 4 of the RFP for phase 1 and 2 of certification. Proposals for phase 2 should be due in November 2013. The award for phase 2 of certification should be in May 2014.
« Last Edit: 10/16/2012 05:45 PM by yg1968 »

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