- Commercial Crew Development
Commercial Crew and Cargo
2006 - 2011 Commercial Space Transportation Capabilities 2007 - 2010 Commercial Crew Development (phase 1) 2010 - 2011 Commercial Resupply Services (cargo) 2011 - 2015 Commercial Crew Development (phase 2) 2011 - 2012 NASA's COTS program
Private spaceflight companies
Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) is a multiphase space technology development program, funded by the U.S. government, and administered by NASA. The program is intended to stimulate development of privately operated crew vehicles to low Earth orbit. It is run by the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO) at NASA. Charles Bolden, the NASA Administrator has stated that at least two providers are intended to be chosen to deliver crew to the ISS.
In the first phase of the program, NASA provided a total of $50 million during 2010 to five American companies, intended to foster research and development into human spaceflight concepts and technologies in the private sector.
A second set of Commercial Crew Development proposals were solicited by NASA in October 2010 for technology development project durations of up to 14 months. As detailed below, on April 18, 2011, NASA announced that they would award up to nearly $270 million to four companies if they meet all their CCDev 2 objectives.
Requirements for the Commercial Crew vehicles include:
- Deliver and return four crew members and their equipment
- Provide assured crew return in the event of an emergency
- Serve as a 24-hour safe haven in the event of an emergency
- Have an on-orbit endurance of 210 days
NASA provided the following description of the Commercial Crew Development program in December 2008.
The objectives of the Commercial Crew & Cargo Program are to implement U.S. Space Exploration policy with investments to stimulate the commercial space industry; facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration or cargo and crew space transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving safe, reliable, cost effective access to low-Earth orbit; and create a market environment in which commercial space transportation services are available to Government and private sector customers.
The Commercial Crew & Cargo Program is applying Recovery Act funds to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities. NASA plans to use funds appropriated for "Exploration" under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) through its C3PO to support efforts within the private sector to develop system concepts and capabilities that could ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services. These efforts are intended to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to job growth in engineering, analysis, design, and research and to promote economic recovery as capabilities for new markets are created.
ARRA provided $400 million for space exploration related activities. Of this amount, $50 million is to be used for the development of commercial crew space transportation concepts and enabling capabilities. This effort is known as CCDev. The purpose of this activity is to provide funding to assist viable commercial entities in the development of system concepts, key technologies, and capabilities that could ultimately be used in commercial crew human space transportation systems. This development work must show, within the timeframe of the agreement, significant progress on long lead capabilities, technologies and commercial crew risk mitigation tasks in order to accelerate the development of their commercial crew space transportation concept.
Contract funding for the CCDev program is quite different from traditional space industry contractor funding used on the Space Shuttle, Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury programs. Contracts are explicitly designed to fund only specific subsystem technology development objectives that NASA wants for NASA purposes; all other system technology development is funded by the commercial contractor. Contracts are issued for fixed-price, pay-for-performance milestones. "NASA's contribution is fixed."
Under CCDev phase 1, NASA has entered into funded Space Act Agreements with several companies working on technologies and systems for human spaceflight. Funding was provided as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A total of $50 million for 2010 was awarded to five American companies, intended to foster research and development into human spaceflight concepts and technologies in the private sector. The phase 1 amount was originally intended to be $150 million, most of which was diverted to the Constellation program by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). All 53 delivery milestones for the five companies were scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
NASA awarded development funds to five companies under CCDev 1:
- Blue Origin - $3.7M for an innovative 'pusher' Launch Abort System (LAS) and composite pressure vessels As of February 2011[update], with the end of the second ground test, Blue Origin has completed all work envisioned under the contract for the pusher escape system. They have also "completed work on the other aspect of its award, risk reduction work on a composite pressure vessel" for their vehicle.
- Boeing - $18M for development of the CST-100 capsule As of February 2011[update], Boeing has completed 94 percent of its project milestones, and anticipates full completion in March.
- Paragon Space Development Corporation - $1.4M for a plug-and-play environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) Air Revitalization System (ARS) Engineering Development Unit. With "the completion of testing in mid-December  of its Commercial Crew Transport Air Revitalization System, a life support system intended for use on [multiple different] commercial crew vehicles," Paragon has completed all work under the contract.
- Sierra Nevada Corporation - $20M for development of the Dream Chaser, a reusable spaceplane vehicle that can transport cargo and up to eight people to low-Earth orbit. Sierra Nevada completed its work under the contract in December 2010, with the structural testing of its engineering test article, its fourth and final milestone.
- United Launch Alliance - $6.7M for an Emergency Detection System (EDS) for human-rating its EELV launch vehicles As of February 2011[update], ULA "is still finishing up work on its $6.7-million award... In December ULA carried out a demonstration of its Emergency Detection System ... The company said it received an extension from NASA until April 'to enable us to finish critical timing analyses tasks' for its fault coverage analysis work."
Proposals not selected
During the evaluation phase of CCDev1 proposals were received from the following participants:
At initial stages of evaluation, because of errors in submittal procedure, insufficient detail or not sufficient alignment with CCDev1 goals, were dismissed the following proposals: Expanding Universe, Ad Astra Rocket Company, AlphaSpaces, Dii Aerospace Laboratories, Global Outpost, IE Group, Universal Space Lines, Universal Transport Systems, ARES, SpaceED - U.C. Davis, Vivace, Blue Smoke, Exploration Partners, S.T.A.R. Systems, Thomas Lee Elifritz, KT Engineering, Stone Aerospace, Orbital Technologies.
The remaining proposals, other than the five winners are:
- Bigelow Aerospace
- Firestar Engineering
- HMX, Inc.
- Oceaneering Space Systems
- Odyssey Space Research
- Orbital Outfitters
A second set of Commercial Crew Development proposals was sought by NASA in October 2010. These could be both new concepts and proposals that mature the design and development of system elements, such as launch vehicles and spacecraft. NASA originally planned to issue about $200 million of Space Act Agreements in March 2011.
On April 18, 2011, NASA awarded nearly $270 million to four companies for developing U.S. vehicles that could fly astronauts after the shuttle.
In August 2011, NASA provided status on the progress milestones of each of the four companies developing crew vehicle technologies under CCDev 2. There are nine to eleven specific milestones, spread over second quarter 2011 through second quarter 2012, that each company must meet in order to receive their "performance based" funding for CCDev 2.
Winners of funding in the second round of the Commercial Crew Development program, or CCDev, were as follows:
- Blue Origin, Kent, Washington: $22 million
- Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colorado: $80 million
- Sierra Nevada Corporation proposed for phase 2 extensions of its Dream Chaser spaceplane technology. Like the Orbital Sciences proposal, the Dream Chaser was also a lifting body design. Sierra Nevada will utilize Virgin Galactic to market Dream Chaser commercial services and will use Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft as a platform for drop trials of the Dream Chaser atmospheric test vehicle in 2012.
- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California: $75 million
- The Boeing Company, Houston, Texas: $92.3 million
- Boeing proposed additional development for the 7-person CST-100 spacecraft, beyond the objectives for the $18 million received from NASA in CCDev 1. The capsule will have both personnel and cargo configurations, and is explicitly designed to be launched by multiple different rockets, and be reusable up to 10 times.
Proposals selected without NASA funding
- United Launch Alliance made a proposal for funding to extend development work on human-rating the Atlas V rocket. Although not selected for funding, NASA entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement with ULA in July 2011 to share information towards human rating the Atlas V, which is the proposed launch rocket for the Blue Origin, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corporation proposals.
- ATK and Astrium proposed development of the Liberty rocket derived from Ares I and Ariane 5. On September 13, 2011, it was reported that NASA intended to form at agreement with ATK to further develop the Liberty rocket as a heavy launch vehicle capable of launching humans into space. å Although no funding is to be provided by NASA with this agreement, the agency will share expertise and technology.
- Excalibur Almaz Inc., a Houston-based firm, is developing a crewed system incorporating updated and modernized Soviet-era space hardware designs, intended for tourism flights to orbit. On October 26, 2011, NASA announced it had entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement with EAI, establishing a framework to enable collaboration in furthering the development EAI's spacecraft concept for low Earth orbit crew transportation. EAI's concept for commercial crew to the International Space Station is to use the company's planned three-person space vehicle with an intermediate stage and fly the integrated vehicle on a commercially available launch vehicle. 
Proposals not selected
Proposals that were not awarded funds in the second round of the Commercial Crew Development program, or CCDev, were as follows:
- Orbital Sciences proposed the Prometheus lifting-body spaceplane vehicle, about one-quarter the size of the Space Shuttle. The Vertical Takeoff, Horizontal Landing (VTHL) vehicle would be launched on a human-rated Atlas V rocket but would land on a runway. The initial design would carry a crew of 4, but it could carry up to 6, or a combination of crew and cargo. In addition to Orbital Sciences, the consortium includes Northrop Grumman, which will build the spaceplane, and the United Launch Alliance, which will provide the rockets. Virgin Galactic also confirmed that they would be teaming with Orbital on the Orbital CCDev 2 project. Failing to be selected for a CCDev phase 2 award by NASA, Orbital announced in April 2011 that they will likely wind down their efforts to develop a commercial crew vehicle.
- Paragon Space Development Corporation proposed additional development of the Commercial Crew Transport-Air Revitalization System (CCT-ARS) program in 2011, to permit the building-out of the other parts of the Environmental Control and Life Support System to provide the complete solution for their commercial crew transport customers.
- t/Space proposed an eight-person crew or cargo recoverable reusable transfer vechicle that could launch on a variety of launch vehicles, including the Atlas V, Falcon 9 and Taurus II.
- United Space Alliance proposed under a plan called Commercial Space Transportation Service, or CSTS, to fly commercially the two remaining Space Shuttle vehicles, Endeavour and Atlantis, twice a year from 2013 to 2017.
A third round was planned for the end of 2011 with NASA to award grants in 2012. For CCDev 3, NASA wanted proposals to include not only the intended spacecraft but also the intended launch vehicle.
After the CCDev3 draft Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued, NASA decided not to do a third round of Space Act Agreements. Consequently, CCDev3 became the Commercial Crew Program,[clarification needed] consisting of a series of competitively awarded contracts. NASA plans to release the final RFP for the Commercial Crew Program by the end of 2011, and hopes commercial crew systems will be available for the transportation of astronauts to and from the ISS – as well as the provision of rescue services – by the middle of the decade.
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