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kamaz
2012-Jun-06, 02:25 PM
WASHINGTON — Top officials at NASA and in Congress have reached an accord on how the agency should proceed in developing “space taxis” to service the International Space Station.




U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, the Virginia Republican who heads the House appropriation subcommittee with NASA oversight, said today that the program would fully fund two companies — and could partially fund a third.

That’s down from as many as four companies, according to Wolf.


http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2012/06/congress-and-nasa-reach-deal-on-space-taxis.html

Let's see. We have: SpaceX (Dragon), Boeing (CST-100), Orbital (Cygnus), Blue Origin (New Shepard?) and Sierra Nevada Corporation (Dreamchaser).

Now, two of these are going to be funded "fully" and one is going to be funded "partially" -- whatever that means.

So the big question is: who gets killed, who starves, and who lives?

Garrison
2012-Jun-06, 05:36 PM
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2012/06/congress-and-nasa-reach-deal-on-space-taxis.html

Let's see. We have: SpaceX (Dragon), Boeing (CST-100), Orbital (Cygnus), Blue Origin (New Shepard?) and Sierra Nevada Corporation (Dreamchaser).

Now, two of these are going to be funded "fully" and one is going to be funded "partially" -- whatever that means.

So the big question is: who gets killed, who starves, and who lives?

First thing is that Cygnus has nothing to do with CCDev; the OSC proposal was a winged orbiter similar to Dreamchaser and it missed out last time and is essentially dead.
The news is good in the sense that Congress has been beaten down from monumental stupidity to ordinary stupidity; guess someone managed to explain the concept of commercial competition to them.
As far as the candidates go Dragonrider is a near cert, and then it's a fight for second and third spot between Dreamchaser and CST-100, with Dreamchaser maybe having the edge for second. That leaves Blue Origin to miss out mostly because of their reluctance to engage in any PR with their design.

Trebuchet
2012-Jun-07, 02:45 AM
Blue Origin may just continue anyway due to the very deep pockets of it's sponsor, Jeff Bezos. That might apply to Dragon as well but it's the most likely of the bunch to be funded, since it's the only one to have flown. CST-100, being the product of an "old-space" company with lots of lobbying ability, is probably the best bet for number 2.

Doodler
2012-Jun-07, 04:05 AM
I wouldn't put SpaceX as a sure thing. Afterall, this is the same Congress that's basically gelded American manned spaceflight by killing an operational vehicle and another in development, even after a successful demonstrator flight.

Do NOT expect logic or common sense out of DC, you will always end up disappointedly banging your head against a desk or wall.

kamaz
2012-Jun-07, 09:14 AM
IMHO the main competition will be between Dragon (since SpaceX has proven capabilities) and CST-100 (it's Boeing, 'nuff said).

That would leave Dreamchaser out, which would be a huge loss as far as technology is concerned: Dragon and CST-100 are basically the same thing (i.e. a capsule), while Dreamchaser is radically different (i.e. a spaceplane).

Trebuchet
2012-Jun-07, 02:55 PM
An interesting thing about the current "newspace" companies is the degree to which they have eclipsed Virgin Galactic, both in publicity and (potential) capability. SpaceShip2 seems to be taking a very long time.

Re CST-100: I never underestimate the ability of my former employer to louse up a major project. 787, anyone?

NEOWatcher
2012-Jun-07, 05:49 PM
I wouldn't put SpaceX as a sure thing. Afterall, this is the same Congress that's basically gelded American manned spaceflight by killing an operational vehicle and another in development, even after a successful demonstrator flight.
Do NOT expect logic or common sense out of DC, you will always end up disappointedly banging your head against a desk or wall.
While I don't underestimate the stupidity from DC, this one doesn't seem to be restricting NASA other than saying "limit yourself to 2 helpings".

Warringer
2012-Jun-07, 06:01 PM
I think that SpaceX can do with the partial funding, considering that they already have a contract for IIRC twelve flights to supply the ISS and that they are well on their way to make the Falcon 9 and Dragon manrated, even if they were on their own. Bigelow is rather interested in the Dragon to get people to his habs after all.

I for one would love to see Dreamchaser being fully funded. Space planes are awesome and the technology should be kept around.

As for the other fully funded company. Meh, I guess that Boing would get that one.

Garrison
2012-Jun-07, 07:05 PM
While I don't underestimate the stupidity from DC, this one doesn't seem to be restricting NASA other than saying "limit yourself to 2 helpings".

But this is a climbdown from the original position that NASA should pick one and only one.

Garrison
2012-Jun-07, 07:14 PM
I wouldn't put SpaceX as a sure thing. Afterall, this is the same Congress that's basically gelded American manned spaceflight by killing an operational vehicle and another in development, even after a successful demonstrator flight.

The STS was long overdue for retirement, with the ISS complete it was just a hopeless money pit. As for the 'demonstrator flight' if you are referring to Ares I-X it was nothing of the sort. They took a standard four segment SRB and stuck a mocked up shell of an upper stage on it; all of which managed to cost some $400 million. That was more than the entire Falcon 9/Dragon program cost up until the time of the first flight.


Do NOT expect logic or common sense out of DC, you will always end up disappointedly banging your head against a desk or wall.

I can't argue with that because their response to the Constellation fiasco was to essentially try the same thing again and I have had the nightmarish thought that maybe the condition for allowing two programs to go forward under CCDev is that one has to be the Liberty...:eek:

NEOWatcher
2012-Jun-07, 08:18 PM
... and I have had the nightmarish thought that maybe the condition for allowing two programs to go forward under CCDev is that one has to be the Liberty...:eek:
http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/konfus/a010.gif (http://www.cosgan.de/smilie.php)

publiusr
2012-Jun-09, 07:39 PM
I would go with Space X and Dream Chaser as #1 and #2

If they work together they could pool funds. Boeing would not be so charitable, and they have their airliners to sustain them.

The Marines were looking at something called Sustain, BTW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Hot_Eagle
This is why I suggested a larger Dream Chaser with some self ferry capability. Come in from space on a cheaper Musk rocket, land, then take off again subsonically. If nothing else, Dream Chaser might take over being an X-38 escape craft for ISS with Dragon being more regular visitor.

MikeMcc
2012-Jun-13, 12:03 AM
The problem with Sustain is that they need to have a really soft landing so that they can debus almost immediately. No use spending 100s of millions to put a squad into the middle of enemy territory just for some teenager with an RPG total the capsule before they can get themselves deployed. Then you've got to think about how to recover the squad, why drop a single squad in the middle of nowhere, if there's no-one close to extract them? Then there's the problem of maintaining a launcher on the pad for a rapid deployment. I don't know how long it takes to fuel up a launcher like that, but I seriously doubt that it's terms of minutes.

mike alexander
2012-Jun-13, 12:12 AM
Wow, I never heard of that before. Only thing missing is Johnny Rico in powered armor.

Antice
2012-Jun-13, 04:22 AM
Wow, I never heard of that before. Only thing missing is Johnny Rico in powered armor.

There are people working on the power armor already. so expect a fit for service prototype within approximately 10 to 15 years. one man drop capsules are already doable today. even the mid air release of the occupant is easily done with current technology. explosive bolts ftw.
I seem to remember that there was a pretty old nasa project that looked at one man drop capsules with inflatable heat shields for use as a space station escape mechanism.

mike alexander
2012-Jun-13, 01:43 PM
I think my irony has become rusty.

Antice
2012-Jun-13, 03:35 PM
I think my irony has become rusty.

take it to the paint-shop and have it cleaned up and repainted with some anti corrosion paint.

Didn't you know that sans the proper emoticons humor always fail on the Internets?