Author Topic: Senate CJS Appropriation Bill Full Committee Markup June 5th at 10 AM  (Read 65183 times)

Offline spacetraveler

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Casting motives, implying evilness, etc, on Shelby without knowing the facts is disingenuous.  These same people who feel so free to do that upon their "alter of righteousness" would be up in arms (and were recently) if questions about Musk's motives and character were raised that goes against what the mythic perception wants it to be. 

Fact is funding for commercial crew went up, there seems to be no happiness about that at all.

Why would anyone be happy when the EFFECTIVE monies available for commercial hardware likely declined due to a new 50+% cost overhead requirement (by available industry standard estimates)?

As far as motives, there is not much ambiguity there, Shelby has been anti-commercial crew for years.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2014 09:17 pm by spacetraveler »

Offline mlindner

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If this language stays I don't really see SpaceX competing. They'd fly solo and wait for the next round of contracts.
Internal combustion engine in space. It's just a Bad Idea.TM - Robotbeat

Offline OpsAnalyst

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If this language stays I don't really see SpaceX competing. They'd fly solo and wait for the next round of contracts.

OK, time to slow down.

It's unclear what the implementation of this language would be, and that's more important than Shelby's motivation.  Will be interesting to hear what NASA's response is, once they (and their lawyers and contract specialists) have a chance to study and think about the language.  As for what SpaceX will do, it is presumably based upon what it the actual implementation might be - that is, if the language survives - when bumped up against their strategic plans and business plans, which are not available for public scrutiny.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2014 03:09 am by OpsAnalyst »

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Its really disturbing when "experts" weigh in and say that "Group J" doesn't know what they are talking about... after all "its just a tweet". 

The truth of the matter is that it is somewhere in the middle of the two points is reality.  Maybe closer to Point A or maybe closer to Point B.  It is the struggle to get to point A or point B. 

What we do know is NASA is being royally screwed by congress.  I am a tea party conservative and (almost) every liberal Democrat will agree with me that House Republicans, some Senate Democrats and one Senate Republican are completely screwing over Commercial Crew.  Its not even debatable anymore.

Richard Shelby
Barbara Mikulski
Wild Bill Nelson
Lamar Smith
Frank Wolf
Steven Palazzo
Team Alabama

As for the interpretation it will cause the most mature designer to at least pause and look to see how it will impact their development.  It simply may be too much of a PITA to comply with the FAR.  These policy armchair rocket wizards who we elect every couple of years are paranoid of the ramifications of Commercial Crew.  They are not stupid.  Billions of dollars every year since 1960 flood into MSFC, KSC, JSC, and GSFC.

What happens when you don't need MSFC?
What happens when you hear "Hawthorne" and not "Houston"?
What happens when you launch from Texas and not KSC or CCAFS?

If you really think SpaceX and Bigelow are just going to stop at LEO you just need to stop now.  The first 150 mile up is the hard part.  The private sector will take on much more risk once we go BEO.  I know, I have been told by those who make decisions on this.  If Company K has a failure and a crew is lost somewhere past L2 it sucks - but they all knew it was a possibility.  However, it will be privately funded and while Congress may hold hearings it won't cause another Challenger or Columbia length delay.

Sorry for the rant but some of the condescending comments needed to be rebutted.

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Offline john smith 19

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Here is more on this issue (a second alert from Space Access):
http://www.space-access.org/updates/sasalert060514.html

https://twitter.com/Stratocumulus/status/474788962314502144
Thanks for posting this update to their original request. It's interesting reading.

Note According to Space Access dissent by any senator (not just those on the committee) can block this on the floor of the house.

I think Space Access has been remarkably even toned in it's response to this. They remind us that you should not ascribe to malice what could simply be due to ignorance (although you do have to wonder if there's a bit of self interest in there as well  :( ).

As Ed Kyle commented on the retirement of another member of the Legislature "His view of NASA was stuck in the 1960's."  It may be that Shelby's is as well (although he was first elected to the Senate in 1986, as a Democrat).

BTW it seems there was no effective opposition to Shelby last time round for his Senator's post. He could be there till he dies.  :(

[EDIT I think it was one of the articles you linked to that pointed out that Boeing probably is geared up to deliver this pricing information by default. A cynic could imagine this was a way to give Boeing an edge over Spacex despite having made no launches to the ISS with their design (or indeed any launches of crew since Shuttle).
« Last Edit: 06/07/2014 10:02 am by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure 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 OpsAnalyst

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Its really disturbing when "experts" weigh in and say that "Group J" doesn't know what they are talking about... after all "its just a tweet". 

Unless, of course, they don't know what they're talking about, because none of us do.  To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a tweet is just a tweet.  And sometimes, it isn't.

The truth of the matter is that it is somewhere in the middle of the two points is reality.  Maybe closer to Point A or maybe closer to Point B.  It is the struggle to get to point A or point B. 

Or sometimes you can't get to either at  the moment;  you just have to wait and see how things play out.

What we do know is NASA is being royally screwed by congress.  I am a tea party conservative and (almost) every liberal Democrat will agree with me that House Republicans, some Senate Democrats and one Senate Republican are completely screwing over Commercial Crew.  Its not even debatable anymore.

Richard Shelby
Barbara Mikulski
Wild Bill Nelson
Lamar Smith
Frank Wolf
Steven Palazzo
Team Alabama

As for the interpretation it will cause the most mature designer to at least pause and look to see how it will impact their development.  It simply may be too much of a PITA to comply with the FAR.  These policy armchair rocket wizards who we elect every couple of years are paranoid of the ramifications of Commercial Crew.  They are not stupid.  Billions of dollars every year since 1960 flood into MSFC, KSC, JSC, and GSFC.

What happens when you don't need MSFC?
What happens when you hear "Hawthorne" and not "Houston"?
What happens when you launch from Texas and not KSC or CCAFS?

With regard to interpretation,  I'm pulling on "implementation" of the language, meaning how it will be interpreted by contract specialists and lawyers, specifically, NASA's.  I don't know if the language will survive, or might be amended, or what its actual legal status is; others may but I don't.  I'm well aware of how onerous the FAR is; I worked for a Prime for years and have started 3 companies, one of which has moved in and out of Federal subcontracting for years and another which was based on an offering of FFP UAV systems.  On the basis of that admittedly limited experience it appears that a strict reading of 15.403-4 (to which Shelby's language points) could allow for waiver of the provision under certain circumstances and I'm betting those circumstances will be thoroughly investigated if the language survives.

My point was simply that any company is going to weigh these burdens and resultant costs against their business cases and strategies, and we don't know what that equation is for SpaceX or Boeing or SNC or anyone else (and frankly, it's none of our business nor of the gov't's, which is a point on which I'm guessing we agree.)

As for the rest this is what always happens when there are disruptive shifts and "vested interests" are threatened.   If you were addressing me with your comments (and I'm not sure you were), my point (above) was simply that "motivation" is one thing, "law" is another, and SpaceX's decisions about what they will do next are going to be based on what the legal implications of the language is vis-a-vis their plans. 

(I personally could care less about motivation; I care about strategy, tactics, policy, planning, law, markets and business.  I leave the rest to mind-readers << now, that's condescending!  ;)  )

If you really think SpaceX and Bigelow are just going to stop at LEO you just need to stop now.  The first 150 mile up is the hard part.  The private sector will take on much more risk once we go BEO.  I know, I have been told by those who make decisions on this.  If Company K has a failure and a crew is lost somewhere past L2 it sucks - but they all knew it was a possibility.  However, it will be privately funded and while Congress may hold hearings it won't cause another Challenger or Columbia length delay.

Again I'm not sure who the "you" you are referring to is, but I personally have no such thoughts.  I too talk to these people and to other people and have been one of many voices for policy enabling  commercial development both in LEO and beyond LEO and in fact am working on this now.  However if you talk to these people you also know that the real business cases beyond LEO are murky and based largely on conjecture and preliminary business case analysis at this point.  That's not to say that things won't progress - indeed I hope they will and if so, they will be out of reach of many of the constraints they're currently having to deal with as you point out.

Sorry for the rant but some of the condescending comments needed to be rebutted.

I don't believe my comments are condescending and I am sorry if they're taken that way.  My intended point was that, rather than people making pronouncements about what this company will do or that company will do or what the US government will do or what the Russians will do on the basis of a couple of headlines, or on attributions about that Senator or this one's motivation (regardless of whether I agree personally), sometimes it an be helpful to slow down and wait a bit to see how things develop. That's just my opinion, people are free to disagree with me as you have, but I don't see how it's condescending to say so.  If it is, then so be it.

Personally I'm pleased to see the battle being joined and the gloves coming off because it means that the disruption is becoming real; this is a far better set of circumstances then when it was simply being ignored.  It's worth noting that at the same time as the poison pill was inserted the appropriations went to $805M, which is the first time that the digit in the leftmost slot has matched the President's request (ballpark).  A good sign, I think.

VR
RE327
[/quote]

VR
- MLD
« Last Edit: 06/07/2014 02:36 pm by OpsAnalyst »

Offline TrueBlueWitt

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Post by Houston Chronicle Eric Berger on his blog re: Shelby language:  "It's just bad policy".

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2014/06/nasa-budget-bill-could-include-a-poison-pill-for-spacex-other-commercial-companies/#22787101=0

After reading through this, it looks like it could also be leverage to award the contract and downselect more quickly than NASA might want.

From the article above:
Quote
"I had a chance to speak with four-time astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who heads up the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, about the effect of this language. He explains:

This was introduced by Senator Shelby, and to comply with this you have to have an infrastructure in place in your company to do that, which a company like Boeing certainly has, but SpaceX certainly does not have. More importantly if it became law on Oct. 1, and they hadn’t awarded the commercial crew contract by then, they would probably have to recompete it."

It states later that if they don't get it awarded by then, it will likely cause at least a year delay in commercial crew operations.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2014 02:34 pm by TrueBlueWitt »

Offline Danderman

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Commercial space advocates concerned about NASA spending bill:
http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2014/06/05/commercial-space-advocates-concerned-nasa-spending-bill/10035713/

https://twitter.com/csf_spaceflight/status/474711787787808768

The language inserted by Senator Shelby is clearly aimed at derailing SpaceX and Sierra Nevada, and "wiring" the Commercial Crew program so only Boeing could win.

This is a real problem for SpaceX.

Offline veblen

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Post by Houston Chronicle Eric Berger on his blog re: Shelby language:  "It's just bad policy".

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2014/06/nasa-budget-bill-could-include-a-poison-pill-for-spacex-other-commercial-companies/#22787101=0

Here is more on this issue (a second alert from Space Access):
http://www.space-access.org/updates/sasalert060514.html

https://twitter.com/Stratocumulus/status/474788962314502144
Here is more on this issue (a second alert from Space Access):
http://www.space-access.org/updates/sasalert060514.html

https://twitter.com/Stratocumulus/status/474788962314502144

From the first link, the last part: selling cars is not a good or even any kind of analogy to commercial cargo and crew transport to the space station. One customer, one space station. 1 existing supplier, 3 prospective new suppliers. Not dozens of manufacturers selling millions of cars to millions of customers. Total specialization. The nature of the beast.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2014 05:06 pm by veblen »

Offline yg1968

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The Senate's CJS bill has now been posted (NASA starts at page 68):
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s2437pcs/pdf/BILLS-113s2437pcs.pdf
« Last Edit: 06/09/2014 01:38 pm by yg1968 »

Offline muomega0

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The Senate's CJS bill has now been posted (NASA starts at page 68):
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s2437pcs/pdf/BILLS-113s2437pcs.pdf

Quote from: SenateBill
That not less than
-  1.2B for Orion MPCV
-  2.05B for SLS which shall have a lift capability of not less than 130 mT and shall have an upper stage and other core elements developed simultaneously
- 1.7B for SLS, 351M for ground systems
- JCL for SLS below 70% documented, submit request to achieve 70% JCL
- 805M for commercial flight,  311M for exploration research
- Space Operations 3.8B
No 70 mT and ask for more money to reach confidence levels. 

Online JohnFornaro

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It was so obviously the way to go by designing in the hooks for crew carriage from day one.

Remember that intelligent design is a religious figment of the imagination.

From:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-113srpt181/pdf/CRPT-113srpt181.pdf

Quote
The Committee directs NASA to only place astronauts on acommercial crew vehicle that NASA acquired under a FAR contract that allows NASA to require the company to meet all safety requirements.

The clear implication being that an SAA contract wouldn't, in principle, allow for any safety requirements whatsoever.  Not only that, but in principle, any SAA contract, could not, by some mystery, be even worded to accomodate safety.

The contractural system wasn't broke, so they now propose to fix it.  All Cretans are liars.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online JohnFornaro

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In reading OpsAnalyst and Rocket Science's posts above, Shelby's secret plan to put humans on Mars became clear.
In two years we shall stand upon the resultant pile of paperwork generated by the commercial crew program every quarter and simply step off of the pile to the surface of mars. Brilliant!

Except for that one chaotic butterfly which flaps its wings and knocks one piece of paper out of that pile...
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online JohnFornaro

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... What so many of these groups and even folks on here and elsewhere don't realize is that you are your own worse enemy. 

These advocacy groups, and the vocal bloggers here and elsewhere who tend to view things from only their desired perspective, are contributing to ripping things apart.

You are sadly completely overlooking the fact that the USG can't launch a damn thing by design, and that the premise of the spy sat launch system is predicated on using an adversary's rocket engine to spy on the adversary.

This is not to say that the advocacy groups are above pragmatic criticism, since many of them do not see the whole HSF picture. 

If there are any enemies, they are within the halls of Congress.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline yg1968

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Having fought a few of these battles on behalf of my own company over the years (I've always insisted on invoking FAR 15 for work packages that involve requirements analysis and report production, which we did on an FFP basis), it might be worth pointing out that the language is actually more proscriptive in the portion referring to quarterly reporting than to the FAR, _if_ a "strict" reading of the latter is applied.  To wit:[...]

Thinking about this some more. The CJS Appropriation bill makes no mention of the certified cost and pricing data requirement for commercial crew and cargo (it's only mentionned in the report). In such a case, it can be argued that because it isn't part of the law, the Shelby language in the report cannot contradict FAR law and regulations. Namely if one of the FAR exception applies, certified cost and pricing data is not required.  To the extent that the Shelby language contradicts FAR law and regulations, it could be argued that this language is invalid from a legal point of view and will have to be ignored by NASA.

Ironically, one of the FAR exceptions is that there must be adequate price competition for the item. That is one more reason not to downselect to only one provider. Another exception exists when a commercial item is being acquired by the government. It seems likely that CCtCap and CRS2 falls under one or both of these exceptions.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/2306a
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/48/15.403-1

Having said all of that, it would be better if the Shelby language was removed in the Final report.
« Last Edit: 06/09/2014 03:40 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Sean Lynch

Senate May 1st CJS Appropriations meeting:
Quote
Bolden to Shelby:"You cannot fund enough to get SLS to a 70% JCL and I don't want you to do that."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7vs2ofy1AE&feature=youtu.be&t=14m15s

Watch the entire presentation from the beginning.
I've attached this for those who have difficulty accessing YT, although to minimize NSF bandwidth please watch from YT if you are able.
"Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others."
-JFK May 25, 1961

Offline john smith 19

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It was so obviously the way to go by designing in the hooks for crew carriage from day one.

Remember that intelligent design is a religious figment of the imagination.
True.
Quote
From:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-113srpt181/pdf/CRPT-113srpt181.pdf

Quote
The Committee directs NASA to only place astronauts on acommercial crew vehicle that NASA acquired under a FAR contract that allows NASA to require the company to meet all safety requirements.

The clear implication being that an SAA contract wouldn't, in principle, allow for any safety requirements whatsoever.  Not only that, but in principle, any SAA contract, could not, by some mystery, be even worded to accomodate safety.

The contractural system wasn't broke, so they now propose to fix it.  All Cretans are liars.
Just to be clear I was more talking about the engineering design than how it would be funded or the contract supervised.  :(

TBH If the Legislature had funded COTS D (the human carriage version) this process could be years ahead of where it is.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure 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 Sean Lynch

From attached at page 117-118:

Quote
Commercial Crew.—The Committee has been consistent in its direction
that NASA use a FAR-based contract for the development
of a domestic crew capability. The use of the FAR was considered
necessary due to the risks associated with transporting humans.
Additionally, the Committee felt that a FAR-based contract was the
only contracting vehicle that would provide NASA the transparency
necessary to ensure the appropriateness of cost and pricing data
and the insight into the ongoing work. While NASA has chosen to
use a FAR-based contract, it has also waived significant portions
of the standard FAR-based contract, including verifiable cost data,
capping repayment of funds in case of inability to perform, and
rights in data. NASA has informed the Committee that these deviations
were necessary to ensure competition. However, with multiple
entrants that collectively have extensive Federal contracting
experience, the Committee questions the true need to waive these
traditional requirements.
While the Committee appreciates NASA’s commitment to a firm,
fixed-price contract for a commercial crew launch vehicle, it remains
concerned that NASA may use other funding vehicles to provide
additional resources. Given the importance of the commercial
crew program to the long-term viability of the International Space
Station, the need for transparency only grows in importance. As
with any such project, the technical risk and probability for cost
growth is high. Without the proper foundation and necessary requirements
for certified cost and pricing data, NASA will have no
insight into ongoing cost growth that could jeopardize the viability
of the program.
In order for NASA and Congress to have the appropriate level of
transparency to ensure that the cost of the program is in line with
the activities undertaken and that it does not grow exponentially,
the Committee directs NASA to maintain FAR 15.403–4, related to
certified cost and pricing data for prime contractors, for any contracts
entered into to support the development of a commercial
crew vehicle. Further, NASA shall require quarterly reports to be
submitted to NASA and the Committee that detail the funds invested
by NASA and by the awardees during the previous quarter
and cumulatively, including legacy launch systems that may be integrated
with the crew vehicle.
The Committee agrees with concern expressed by the Aerospace
Safety Advisory Panel, the OIG, and others that Space Act agreements
may not give NASA sufficient oversight to correct safety defects.
The Committee directs NASA to only place astronauts on a
--118--
commercial crew vehicle that NASA acquired under a FAR contract
that allows NASA to require the company to meet all safety requirements.
The Committee encourages NASA to continue working
closely with commercial companies, even under Space Act agreements,
so that those companies know what will be acceptable
should NASA eventually contract for crew transportation services
aboard those companies’ vehicles. The Committee encourages
NASA to develop plans to fully utilize NASA-owned rocket testing
infrastructure for commercially developed launch vehicles to ensure
that these vehicles are not only tested in the same manner as Government-
developed launch vehicles but at the same facilities to ensure
consistency in testing across all potential vehicles.
"Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others."
-JFK May 25, 1961

Offline Sean Lynch

Commercial Cargo:
Quote from: p119
As NASA begins soliciting participants for the second round of cargo resupply missions, certified cost and pricing data should be required and made available to NASA.

There is concern not only regarding FAR contract requirements for commercial crew and cargo, but the pathways for private R&D testing as well:
Quote from: 118
"The Committee encourages NASA to develop plans to fully utilize NASA-owned rocket testing
infrastructure for commercially developed launch vehicles to ensure that these vehicles are not only tested in the same manner as Government-developed launch vehicles but at the same facilities to ensure consistency in testing across all potential vehicles."
-chilling.
"Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others."
-JFK May 25, 1961

Online Hauerg

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Somebody does not want his problem (crew to ISS) solved.

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