Competitive Space Task Force

I have a new web site up. It’s not pretty but it does the job. I may start blogging over there on space policy issues. If so, I’ll cross post here, though.

[Wednesday morning update]

I’ve got the site blocked temporarily while I fix some things that I broke last night. I hope it will be up a little later this morning.

[Update a while later]

OK, I’ve fixed things, I think, and reopened the site.

16 thoughts on “Competitive Space Task Force”

  1. I think competitive crew is a far better term, and far less misleading, then commercial crew. Kudos for the term.

  2. When I click on your link it asks me for a username and password. Where would one go to set it in the first place?

  3. When I click on the link I get an attempted windows user logon and then when I cancel I get:
    Authorization Required
    This server could not verify that you are authorized to access the document requested. Either you supplied the wrong credentials (e.g., bad password), or your browser doesn’t understand how to supply the credentials required.

  4. Trent,

    [[[It’s unfortunate that the desire to be “competitive” kept SpaceX from getting their COTS-D option. They could have had a suborbital Dragon by now.]]]

    Unfortunately even “commercial” purchases by the government are covered by federal procurement laws. Which is of course why the government is not able to buy “commercial” like actual corporations and individuals. If they could Gen. Bolden could just call Elon Musk up and give him a contract like Sir Richard Branson did with Burt Rutan. But due to federal regulations the most it is able to do is to put out a RFP with clauses similar to those found in commercial markets – i.e. business to business purchases.

    That is why I like the term Competitive Crew, it acknowledges NASA is not a commercial customer while reflecting that the government is looking for an inexpensive competitive sustainable solution for human and cargo transport to the ISS. Also it highlights the desirability of having competitive options, at least two suppliers, to ensure the price is kept low and access is available should a provider be grounded for some reason.

  5. Yes. So there was $150 million that Senator Nelson thought was going to COTS-D but NASA thought it was to be used to in other ways to fund alternative crew systems since it was not enough for COTS-D. The question is did Senator Nelson have his facts straight, or was he just disappointed that the $150 million in stimulus was spent in other districts and looking for a scape goat for Florida not getting any.

    In any case it became academic when President Obama redid everything in his 2010 budget.

  6. NASA had the choice where to spend both sets of money and chose not to spend either on SpaceX. Up until that point everyone just thought it was because SpaceX wasn’t far enough along.. then Scolese laid it on the table – they value competition more than closing the gap. Which is great and all, but up until that point Congress had made it abundantly clear that closing the gap was their primary interest. They expressed the same concerns to Griffin and O’Keefe.

  7. Trent,

    [[[they value competition more than closing the gap]]]

    Actually competition is a key element of federal procurement regulations and the quickest way to get into major legal difficulties is to not allow it when bidding on contracts.

  8. Trent,

    as a side note that is why “Commercial Crew” will never be commercial in the way private firms buy goods and service, unless there are major exceptions made to Federal Procurement Regulations.

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