The Magic Of Competition

Gee, it works in space transportation just like it does in any other:

The Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft both ranked high on their technical merits. But NASA raised concerns about Boeing’s financial commitment to the public-private sector partnership.

Ferguson said Boeing is thinking about upping its corporate ante, aiming to advance the date of its first piloted test flight.

“We’re looking heavily into getting some additional Boeing investment to move that (late 2016) date to the left significantly, which we think we need to do to keep pace with SpaceX,” Ferguson said.

To me, at this point, their real problem is Atlas prices. They’ll just have to hope that NASA wants to have redundancy in providers, because they can’t compete with Hawthorne on price.

9 thoughts on “The Magic Of Competition”

  1. 2016? Their capsule development is slow as molasses. It should take them like a year to develop a capsule. It may take more time to refit the launch pad and to test the abort system but 4 years is too damned long.

    1. “2016? Their capsule development is slow as molasses.”

      It’s still five years earlier than Orion, which had a five-year head start. It’s also only a year behind DragonRider, which had a four-year head start.

      1. More than four years. SpaceX was secretly working on Dragon prior to 2004. It was intended to be the crew exploration vehicle when Elon pitched what became the Bush Vision of Space Exploration to Sean O’Keefe.

    2. Excluding Kelly Johnson, what do you think the development time for a space vessel should be? Automobile manufacturers are just now getting to about 24 to 18 months for development, and they are working in a well defined operating and regulatory environment.

  2. CST-100 is not tied to Atlas. It’s supposed to be compatible with the Falcon 9 as well as both EELVs.

  3. I’ve already posted this elsewhere over the weekend:

    “I didn’t say it explicitly in my “Report” issue discussing the CCiCap decisions back on October 1, but my understanding was that Boeing had proposed contributing just about ZERO dollars to that effort. And I heard that ULA was not happy about the similar level of their investment in the Centaur/Atlas mods either.

    “Given the next round of NASA budget crunches, putting some of their own money up after all may put them in a much better position if there is a forced downselect. Now, originally folks were saying that as part of the old space establishment, Boeing would’ve been the shoe-in for that anyway. But the combination of SpaceX’s two successful flights to ISS so far with Boeing’s level of proposed non-investment might have left some bitterness up on the Hill. So perhaps they’re trying to cure that.”

    To which I now add another item. With Europe now decided to converting their ATV to the Orion’s service module, the whole Orion system becomes at least as much of a ‘long pole’ for NASA exploration schemes as SLS. Could Boeing also be eyeing taking over Orion’s role? The truth, of course is that ‘Beyond LEO’ we should be using reusable inter-orbital transport systems, not hauling around capsules with heavy heat shields.

    If the pork weren’t so powerful, we’d dump Orion as well as SLS, use fuel depots and Bigelow modules BEO, and until fully reusables are available use CST-100, Dragon or whatever to and from LEO.

  4. ‘Beyond LEO’ we should be using reusable inter-orbital transport systems

    This is so obvious it makes you wonder why nobody is considering it. Perhaps because a capsule is like having a hammer and everything looks like a nail?

    The fact is inter-orbital is an entirely different environment from launch or landing/recovery. Remember that some parts of the LEM were like aluminum foil?

    I actually expect inter-orbital transportation to be run for profit by non aerospace companies when colonization starts for real. Then you’ll see some real magic of competition.

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