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NASA Commercial Crew selections

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#46 OP DocM


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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:52

The court has tossed SNC's protest of NASA's proceed order,


Court Declines SNC's Motion to Overrule NASA on CCtCAP Authorization to Proceed

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued a verbal decision today declining to overrule NASA on its decision to allow SpaceX and Boeing to proceed in executing the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is suing the government over NASA's October 9 decision to rescind a previously issued stop-work order while SNC's protest of the contract awards is under consideration by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In a terse statement, Judge Marilyn Blank Horn said:

"On October 21, 2014, the court held a hearing in the above captioned protest. Given the urgency to resolve the override issue, the court provided the parties with a verbal decision declining to overrule the override."

"Override" refers to NASA overriding a provision of the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) under which work on a contract ordinarily would cease while a protest of the contract award is pending. NASA initially issued a stop-work order to Boeing and SpaceX in compliance with CICA after SNC filed its protest with GAO. On October 9, however, it rescinded that order, overriding the CICA requirement, on the basis that its statutory authority allowed it to avoid serious adverse consequences.




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Posted 22 October 2014 - 11:19

Dragon can carry large amounts of unpressurized cargo in its trunk, even more with the optional enhanced 34 m3 trunk. CST-100 can be adapted to do so. The specs for the upcoming second round of commercial cargo male clear this is a priority. Dream Chaser cannot carry unpressurized cargo, and a container attached to its rear hatch would get fried by its rear-facing engines.

Both capsules have the potential to go beyond Earth orbit to perform cargo and crew runs to lunar orbit or Lagrange points. This wasn't a stated goal for CCtCap, but it's in the cards regardless. Dream Chaser cannot.


If the unpressurised cargo is a priority, then it seems quite dishonest to not release that information until now..?


Also, does the CST-100 claim beyond earth capabilities, or is this just assumed since it is a capsule? Dragon has a heat shield apparently capable of reentering from a Mars return trip, does the CST-100 have similar capabilities, or is this something that will have to be developed further if necessary?

#48 OP DocM


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Posted 22 October 2014 - 12:28

Neither Dream Chaser or CST-100 had unpressurized cargo and only Dragon proposed it, and it wasn't in the original NASA request, but as the program progressed it became a factor.

As it turns out its easier to add to CST-100, just add a disposable rear extension to its service module.

For Dream Chaser it's not so easy because of its rear-facing engines, which need to do a burn for orbital insertion.

In the end, SNC's engine choices probably killed Dream Chaser. From day-one they planned on using hybrids, which use a liquid oxidizer (nitrous oxide) and a rubber based solid fuel grain (HTPB - hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene). At litetally the last minute, and possibly due to the difficulties Virgin Galactic has had with a related engine, SNC changed this to a pair of ORBITEC Liquid Vortex engines, which have never been tested at that scale. The largest public test of Liquid Vortex was 2 years ago in a sounding rocket. This presented a schedule risk NASA probably felt was too great.

CST-100 is based on the pre-Constellation Boeing/Northop-Grumman proposal for the CEV (crew exploration vehicle) program, so it's assumed upgradable. CEV morphed into Constellation's Orion, which was won by Lockheed Martin.

Boing/N-G CEV




#49 OP DocM


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Posted 22 October 2014 - 22:46


NASA Statement on Court of Federal Claims Decision

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 12:25 pm by commercial-crew-program

NASA is pleased the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Oct. 21 allowed NASA to proceed with the performance of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts while the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) considers the GAO bid protest filed by Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA will continue to work with Boeing and SpaceX on the contracts that will enable safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from U.S. soil.

#50 OP DocM


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Posted 10 December 2014 - 03:41

In the 2015 US budget resolution now being worked on Commercial Crew will get $805M, and Sen. Shelby's certified cost and pricing language is now gone. About damned time.