Author Topic: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision  (Read 132259 times)

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #40 on: 09/27/2014 01:39 AM »
When will NASA release the source selection document? They said it would be after SNC was briefed, they've obviously been briefed.
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Offline rcoppola

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #41 on: 09/27/2014 01:46 AM »
When will NASA release the source selection document? They said it would be after SNC was briefed, they've obviously been briefed.
They probably won't release it, saying it is now part of the protest proceedings...
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Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #42 on: 09/27/2014 01:52 AM »
My first thought is oh no, this can only slow things down while generating ill will.  But on second thought, regardless of whether it ultimately changes anything, if there is a legitimate case for challenging the decision then I am glad it's being pursued, and I hope that any questionable behind the scenes political shenanigans are called out and exposed if they truly do exist. 

Offline daveklingler

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #43 on: 09/27/2014 01:55 AM »

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 SpaceX’s 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.

It's interesting that you characterize SpaceX as earning "the second spot", with Boeing therefore coming out in "the first spot".  Why do you describe the situation that way?

Although I expected Boeing to win one of the spots, I did not expect it for technical reasons, nor did I realize that the SNC proposal would be so much lower than Boeing's.  LockMart's also doing their airframe and TPS, so it's not like one could say the Boeing team is more experienced at that portion of the job.  Given that SNC has at least as much experience under their belts as the Boeing team in spacecraft design, if not much more so, and their proposal was close to a billion dollars lower, one might expect the price disparity to overcome the political pull Boeing was utilizing. 

I mention that because both Boeing and SNC were boasting about the large number of jobs they were creating in a large number of states, a clear indication that both companies thought that politics would play a strong role in the decision process.  SpaceX, of course, could make no such claims - their jobs are virtually all under one roof.

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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.

CCtCap work will stop, if anyone's started.  All three companies will continue to work on their CCiCap milestones.  SNC will probably announce CDR completion some time fairly soon, and they'll probably do another flight test or two.  GAO has 100 days to make a judgement, but given the price disparity it's a serious protest.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2014 02:01 AM by daveklingler »

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #44 on: 09/27/2014 02:05 AM »
NASA can't just give the CCtCap entrants some funding and expect them to produce certified vehicles by 2017. They need to fully fund them, not only for development but for some crew flights, because the value of those crew missions are costed in to the price to help pay for development. If they cut Boeing and and SpaceX by 33% each to pay for SNC, that guarantees nothing flies. Even if they came up with an additional 3B for DC, then they have to divide the crew flights 3 ways instead of 2, making those seats cost a whole lot more than Soyuz.
I don't know about Boeing, but there's no way SpaceX and SNC would need full $2.6b and $3.3b commitments to fly.  They are both deeply invested in and heavily committed to these vehicles.  Actually, I'd expect to see manned launches from both of them eventually even if NASA "down-selected" to zero further development support and offered only to buy flights on proven crew vehicles, and only if they could beat the Soyuz price.

If Boeing can't say the same, they shouldn't have even been in the running.  Subsidies have an ugly dark side.  They should be spread out fairly and used to hurry things along that the market was doing anyway, not concentrated and spent creating artificial propped-up obstacles to true free-market products.

(I suspect Elon Musk was swimming in the Uncle Scrooge money bin in his head when he heard the news, cash register ding and eyes ringing up little pictures of Raptor engines, because it was so much more government cheese than SpaceX needed to proceed with something they wanted to do anyway.  SNC has to pay for Atlas V flights somehow, but I bet they still only asked for so much because of the way NASA asked them to bid it, and they felt that they would be safe so far under what Boeing's bid was likely to be.)

Let's see the selection committee explain, in intimate and everlasting detail how and why they came to their conclusions.
I don't disagree with anything you said.  I'm not opposed to SNC's protest, I just felt like there was momentum growing for assuming that SNC's worst suspicions are not only understandable given the circumstances, but are correct, and I don't agree with assuming that (with the information that has been available to me so far).

Offline TrevorMonty

David Livingston from Space show said he had been hearing rumors from creditable people in the industry that Boeing selection was not all above board. But as he stated they are rumors and nobody was coming fore with evidence. If there is valid evidence to support these rumors hopefully somebody will give it to SNC.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #46 on: 09/27/2014 02:15 AM »

I would argue that different missions are available, and that there's good reason to have different vehicles.  DC can act as a rapid-rescue vehicle, a low-g reentry vehicle, and a quick-return of experiments vehicle.  All of them can act as taxis to move people up and down.

Another advantage for medical evac it's the only vehicle that has non toxic RCS making it safer to approach immediately after landing.

Plus it probably has more down cargo capacity then any other vehicle.
The volume is comparable to the standard version of Cygnus.


I don't know about Boeing, but there's no way SpaceX and SNC would need full $2.6b and $3.3b commitments to fly.  They are both deeply invested in and heavily committed to these vehicles.  Actually, I'd expect to see manned launches from both of them eventually even if NASA "down-selected" to zero further development support and offered only to buy flights on proven crew vehicles, and only if they could beat the Soyuz price.

If Boeing can't say the same, they shouldn't have even been in the running.  Subsidies have an ugly dark side.  They should be spread out fairly and used to hurry things along that the market was doing anyway, not concentrated and spent creating artificial propped-up obstacles to true free-market products.


I think SNC's vehicle would likely have lower reoccurring costs then Boeing's since it has fewer parts that need to be replaced between flights.

On this end of the equation they might even give Spacex a run for their money.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2014 02:24 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #47 on: 09/27/2014 02:32 AM »
Plus it probably has more down cargo capacity then any other vehicle.
The volume is comparable to the standard version of Cygnus.
If they can't turn things around with this protest, I'd love to see them win some cargo contracts and do a thorough unmanned test program.

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #48 on: 09/27/2014 04:14 AM »
Please correct me if I am wrong:

Boeing: $4.2 Billion
SNC: $3.3 Billion
SpaceX: $2.6 Billion

All offering basically the same service.  All (according to SNC), within a few points out of a thousand of each other, in a competition where price was supposed to be the most important factor.  IF that is correct (and at this point that is a BIG "if"), then there is some explaining to do.

Let's leave aside the wings/lifting bodies versus capsules debate for a second, as it tends to attract heated emotions.  I prefer one method, but both work.  What was there about the SNC proposal that was of such proportion as to negate that companies lower bid?  I seriously doubt that it was the malfunctioning stock landing gear from another aircraft that was used for the drop test.  NASA set up the competition.  They set the criteria, and decided how points would be awarded.  The companies have to have been informed of how this would be done, correct?  The original request, the awarding of points for the bids as presented to NASA and the results all have to be in agreement, right?  Nothing else counts, or else it's grounds for protests and lawsuits that bring the whole thing to a halt.

This may get ugly.

Offline nadreck


CCtCap work will stop, if anyone's started.  All three companies will continue to work on their CCiCap milestones.  SNC will probably announce CDR completion some time fairly soon, and they'll probably do another flight test or two.  GAO has 100 days to make a judgement, but given the price disparity it's a serious protest.

No, I can't see any reason why the work has to stop. Boeing I expect will elect to stop it, and with rather reasonable justification: they are a public company and they are responsible to their shareholders in a way private companies aren't. However, NASA would have no authority to tell either Boeing or SpaceX to stop, only to notify them that they might, because of force majeur from the GAO to not pay under the contract until and if the dispute with SNC is resolved.
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 sdsds

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #50 on: 09/27/2014 05:54 AM »
Boeing: $4.2 Billion
SNC: $3.3 Billion
SpaceX: $2.6 Billion

If these are correct, awards to each of SNC and SpaceX would total $5.9b. Compare that to this rumor:
Quote from: @TheLurioReport
CCtCap rumor1: Was to be SpaceX/SNC at about $5b total until the announcement delay about 2 wks ago. [...]
10:29 AM - 17 Sep 2014

Is 5.9 close enough to "about 5" that it lends credence to the other aspects of the rumor?
« Last Edit: 09/27/2014 05:56 AM by sdsds »
-- sdsds --

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #51 on: 09/27/2014 05:57 AM »
If SNC prevails with their law suit, what would that mean for Space X? (Assuming Boeing is untouchable in all this)

Boeing is not untouchable in this. Nor are they unassailable, as another poster claimed.

I hope your right and that's refreshing to read, but do you have any links that a none-L2 user could access? I'd love to join your opinion.
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Offline Hauerg

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #52 on: 09/27/2014 06:16 AM »
Give Boeing the same funding as SpaceX, and the remainder from the original Boeing award to SNC.

This was a public sector tender. So you cannot change the rules. Again.    ;)

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #53 on: 09/27/2014 07:36 AM »
If SNC prevails with their law suit, what would that mean for Space X? (Assuming Boeing is untouchable in all this)

Boeing is not untouchable in this. Nor are they unassailable, as another poster claimed.

I hope your right and that's refreshing to read, but do you have any links that a none-L2 user could access? I'd love to join your opinion.

Nothing as concrete as what you may be looking for. (I'm not L2 either) But Boeing has been slapped down for inappropriate contract awards in the past. And their proposal was not a slam dunk on a technical level - I suspect a review will find many "fingers on the scales" that were involved in scoring the proposals.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #54 on: 09/27/2014 07:44 AM »
SNC must accept that they have lost the CCtCap contract and stop wasting NASA's, Boeing's, and SpaceX's time and let them get on with it.

Offline kkattula

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #55 on: 09/27/2014 08:00 AM »
SNC must accept that they have lost the CCtCap contract and stop wasting NASA's, Boeing's, and SpaceX's time and let them get on with it.

I don't see why. If I lost a 3.3 billion dollar contract, for no clear reason, I'd sure take advantage of any built in mechanism to appeal.

If their proposal had been obviously inferior, unrealistic or vastly more expensive, it might be seen as sour grapes. It isn't.


IMO, this should be looked at as just another stage in the contract award process. I'm sure NASA, Boeing & SpaceX all factored it in as a likely occurrence.

Offline tesla

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #56 on: 09/27/2014 08:05 AM »
We all read the statement from SNC and I just wanted to say what my impression is and you guys please tell me that I'm wrong here.

-> In my opinion NASA has the best people who make the best decisions based on the requirements they were given.
-> If the protest is successful it implies that corruption has taken place at NASA and this will trigger a huge scandal.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #57 on: 09/27/2014 08:08 AM »
Perhaps a solution would be to cut Boeing's award to $2.6 Billion, give the rest to SNC who can put their DC on a F9.

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #58 on: 09/27/2014 08:44 AM »
SNC must accept that they have lost the CCtCap contract and stop wasting NASA's, Boeing's, and SpaceX's time and let them get on with it.
SNC does not have to do anything of the sort.  The rules and laws governing these sorts of protests are there for a reason.  If it turns out that SNC has no grounds for a protest and is just wasting time, then yes, we can criticize them for holding up an important program.  If they have a valid protest, then they would be negligent to their shareholders in not pursuing it. We simply don't have enough information to tell.

Perhaps a solution would be to cut Boeing's award to $2.6 Billion, give the rest to SNC who can put their DC on a F9.
NASA HAS to use what the companies offered, judged against what the criteria in the request were.

Offline Hauerg

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Re: Dream Chaser shows her fight - SNC protest CCtCap decision
« Reply #59 on: 09/27/2014 08:53 AM »
Sometimes the organization doing the tender is not the "real" stakeholder or budget owner. So funny things tend to happen.
Would the outcome have been different if NASA had been in "firm possession" of the 6.8 billions??
May be.
 

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