Thu, Apr 26, 2012
Says Programs Are Not Sufficiently Mature For NASA To Pick A Vehicle At This Time
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation has come out in strong support of competition among several companies that are in the process of developing the next generation of human-rates spacecraft, and says NASA should not move too quickly to select a vehicle that will carry astronauts into space.
“The funding level provided in the draft Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill produced by the House Appropriations Committee represents a commitment to the Commercial Crew Program that is greatly appreciated by the industry,” said Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Michael Lopez-Alegria, in a statement released to the media. “As important, however, is preserving competition in the program, as the vehicles are not sufficiently mature to enable NASA to confidently select a single vehicle at this time. The next phase of the program should also maintain the use of Space Act Agreements, which require meaningful investment by the competing companies to augment NASA funding. NASA does plan to move to FAR-based contracts at the appropriate time prior to certifying any provider to carry crew.
"We believe NASA has carefully designed a program that maintains competition, and preserves safety, through the development and certification process, and that uses the appropriate contracting mechanism at each stage. It is best to leave decisions on program management to the NASA human spaceflight professionals who have access to all the information and have worked closely with all the competing companies. If the language in the report were applied to the current round of competition, it would result in a significant delay in restoring U.S. human access to orbit.”
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