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NASA's Lori Garver  (Source: wikimedia.org)
NASA urged Congress to provide the full $850 million, because if it is not paid now, the U.S. will be forced to pay the Russians $450 million for every year that the U.S. delays its own commercial crew vehicle starting in 2016

Lori Garver, NASA's deputy administrator, is pushing for increased funding for NASA's commercial crew vehicle development, or warns that the U.S. will be paying the Russians over the long-term instead.

The retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet throughout 2011 has made U.S. astronauts dependent on Russia to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). The cost per seat for this rendezvous is estimated to increase to $63 million by 2015, and NASA is hoping to have commercial spaceships of its own to avoid having to pay the Russians. NASA is looking to Boeing Co., SpaceX, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada Corp. for such spacecraft.

But these spacecraft developers will require assistance for the creation of NASA's request. NASA put aside $388 million to support such development, while the agency put forth another $800 million for spacecraft to be developed by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp.

But now, NASA is moving on to its next phase of its commercial crew vehicle development, and needs $850 million.

So far, Congress has put aside $312 million in the House and $500 million in the Senate.

Garver urged Congress to provide the full $850 million, because if it is not paid now, the U.S. will be forced to pay the Russians $450 million for every year that the U.S. delays its own commercial crew vehicle starting in 2016.

According to Garver, paying U.S. companies the extra money needed now will outweigh having to pay the Russians $450 million per year in 2016 and beyond, which will obviously benefit the Russian space effort instead of the U.S.

But NASA's money troubles don't end there. Even if Congress comes up with $850 million in 2012, the cost of the commercial crew vehicle development will only increase as time goes on. Garver estimates that NASA will require $6 billion "over five years."

The next step is a hearing for funding the next phase, known as CCDev 3, next Wednesday. It was scheduled by the House Science Space and Technology Committee.

Source: MSNBC



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RE: SLS waste
By vanwinkle on 10/21/2011 4:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'll add this: SpaceX claims that it can drastically reduce the cost of launching things into orbit by developing self-landing, reusable versions of its Falcon 9 rocket. If this is true, it would be revolutionary and make the concept of launching dozens of Falcon 9s at a time a lot more realistic, as well as a heck of a lot cheaper. HOWEVER, this is completely unproven technology, and until they demonstrate that they can not only do this but do it reliably, it seems incredibly short-sighted abandon our current heavy-lift ambitions simply because a commercial entity might provide a commercially viable alternative in the next decade or so.


RE: SLS waste
By delphinus100 on 10/21/2011 11:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
SpaceX plans would be enhanced by, but don't require recoverable Falcons.


RE: SLS waste
By WinstonSmith on 10/22/2011 9:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
"HOWEVER, this is completely unproven technology, and until they demonstrate that they can not only do this but do it reliably, it seems incredibly short-sighted abandon our current heavy-lift ambitions simply because a commercial entity might provide a commercially viable alternative in the next decade or so."

They ALREADY HAVE a "commercially viable alternative." They don't need to implement self-landing to be viable. They already are.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1826/1

Excerpt:

"First, the uncomfortable questions. Given the fact that the SpaceX Falcon rockets are not based on any radical technological breakthrough that lowered their costs, one has to ask just how bad a deal has the taxpayer been getting from the Atlas V and Delta IV, products of the legacy aerospace establishment? Soon to be deprived of the hyper-expensive Space Shuttle as their own point of comparison, the answer would appear to be much worse than we ever imagined."


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