Commercial Crew Development

Commercial Crew Development
Commercial Crew Program logo
Commercial Crew and Cargov · Commercial Cargo Development
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.[1] Charles Bolden, the NASA Administrator has stated that at least two providers are intended to be chosen to deliver crew to the ISS.[2]

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.[3] 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:[4]

  • 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

Program overview

Flag left aboard ISS by STS-135 is to be retrieved by the next American launched manned spacecraft

NASA provided the following description of the Commercial Crew Development program in December 2008.[5]

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."[6]

CCDev 1

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.[7][5][8] 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).[9] All 53 delivery milestones for the five companies were scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.[6]

Proposals selected

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[10] As of February 2011, 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.[11]
  • Boeing - $18M for development of the CST-100 capsule[12] As of February 2011, Boeing has completed 94 percent of its project milestones, and anticipates full completion in March.[11]
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation - $20M for development of the Dream Chaser,[14] a reusable spaceplane vehicle that can transport cargo and up to eight people to low-Earth orbit.[15] 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.[11]
  • United Launch Alliance - $6.7M for an Emergency Detection System (EDS) for human-rating its EELV launch vehicles[16] As of February 2011, 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."[11]

Proposals not selected

During the evaluation phase of CCDev1 proposals were received from the following participants:[17]

  • Paragon Space Development
  • Planetspace
  • S.T.A.R. Systems
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • SpaceED - UC Davis
  • SpaceX
  • Stone Aerospace

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:

CCDev 2

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.[3]

On April 18, 2011, NASA awarded nearly $270 million to four companies for developing U.S. vehicles that could fly astronauts after the shuttle.[18]

In August 2011, NASA provided status on the progress milestones of each of the four companies developing crew vehicle technologies under CCDev 2.[19] 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.[20]

Proposals selected

Winners of funding in the second round of the Commercial Crew Development program, or CCDev, were as follows:[21]

  • Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colorado: $80 million
    • Sierra Nevada Corporation proposed for phase 2 extensions of its Dream Chaser spaceplane technology.[24] Like the Orbital Sciences proposal, the Dream Chaser was also a lifting body design.[25] 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.[24][26][27]
  • Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California: $75 million
    • SpaceX proposed[28] to develop an "integrated launch abort system design" for the Dragon spacecraft, with reputed advantages over the more traditional tractor tower approaches used on all prior manned space capsules.[29]
  • 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.[30]

Proposals selected without NASA funding

  • United Launch Alliance made a proposal for funding to extend development work on human-rating the Atlas V rocket.[31] 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.[32][33][34][35]
  • ATK and Astrium proposed development of the Liberty rocket derived from Ares I and Ariane 5.[36] 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.[37][38]
  • 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. [39][40]

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.[41] The Vertical Takeoff, Horizontal Landing (VTHL) vehicle would be launched on a human-rated Atlas V rocket but would land on a runway.[42] 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.[43] Virgin Galactic also confirmed that they would be teaming with Orbital on the Orbital CCDev 2 project.[26] 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.[44]
  • 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.[45]
  • 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.[47]

CCDev 3

A third round was planned for the end of 2011 with NASA to award grants in 2012.[48] For CCDev 3, NASA wanted proposals to include not only the intended spacecraft but also the intended launch vehicle.[49]

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.[50]

See also


  1. ^ Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Office, NASA website, August 10, 2009, accessed December 19, 2010.
  2. ^ Phillips, Rich (2011-06-30). "Private companies hold the key to space travel's future". CNN. Retrieved July 24, 2011. "Ideally, we'd like to have multiple competitors who come down to at least two that we can use so that we always have an alternative should one falter or fail" 
  3. ^ a b "NASA Seeks More Proposals On Commercial Crew Development". press release 10-277. NASA. October 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Bayt, Rob (July 26, 2011). "Commercial Crew Program: Key Drving Requirments Walkthrough". NASA. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Selection Statement For Commercial Crew Development". JSC-CCDev-1. NASA. December 9, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Moving Forward: Commercial Crew Development Building the Next Era in Spaceflight". Rendezvous. NASA. 2010. pp. 10–17. Retrieved February 14, 2011. ""Just as in the COTS projects, in the CCDev project we have fixed-price, pay-for-performance milestones," Thorn said. "There’s no extra money invested by NASA if the projects cost more than projected."" 
  7. ^ "NASA Selects Commercial Firms to Begin Development of Crew Transportation Concepts and Technology Demonstrations for Human Spaceflight Using Recovery Act Funds". press release (NASA). February 1, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Commercial Crew and Cargo Program". 
  9. ^ "Shelby wins battle on stimulus funding". 
  10. ^ Jeff Foust. "Blue Origin proposes orbital vehicle". 
  11. ^ a b c d e "CCDev awardees one year later: where are they now?". NewSpace Journal. February 4, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  12. ^ NASA Selects Boeing for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Award to Study Crew Capsule-based Design, 
  13. ^ "CCDev Information". NASA. July 20, 2010. 
  14. ^ "SNC receives largest award of NASA's CCDev Competitive Contract". SNC. February 1, 2010. 
  15. ^ Bourzac, Katherine (January 18, 2011). "A Private Space Shuttle Replacement". Technology Review. MIT. Retrieved January 22, 2011. "This spacecraft, the size of a business jet, will take cargo and up to eight people into low Earth orbit, where the space station is located, and then return and land on commercial airport runways." 
  16. ^ "NASA Selects United Launch Alliance for Commercial Crew Development Program". February 2, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Selection statement for CCDev1".
  18. ^ Dean, James. "NASA awards $270 million for commercial crew efforts"., April 18, 2011.
  19. ^ Bergin, Chris (August 1, 2011). "NASA oversight of CCDev-2 Partners reveals progress milestones". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved August 3, 2011. 
  20. ^ "CCDev 2 Milestone Schedule" (pdf). NASA. August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  21. ^ Morring, Frank, Jr. (2011-04-22). "Five Vehicles Vie To Succeed Space Shuttle". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2011-02-23. "the CCDev-2 awards, ... went to Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Inc. (SpaceX)." 
  22. ^ [1], p. 2-1
  23. ^ Blue Origin. New Shepard Program web site
  24. ^ a b Orbital Aims For Station With Lifting Body. Aviation Week, 2010-12-17, accessed 2010-12-20. "will use Virgin to market its services. But Sierra is also in discussions about using Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft as a platform for drop trials of the Dream Chaser atmospheric test vehicle"
  25. ^ Companies submit plans for new NASA spacecraft.[dead link] Daily Record, 2010-12-17, accessed 2010-12-20.
  26. ^ a b Virgin joins forces with two companies on CCDev, NewSpace Journal, 2010-12-16, accessed 2010-12-18.
  27. ^ Trivers, Elise (2011-02-05). "NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver touts Colorado's role in space exploration". Boulder Daily Camera: 00:18. Retrieved 2011-02-06. "Behind me is the Dream Chaser. It's the core structure that will become an atmospheric flight test vehicle in 2012 for drop tests. We're gonna take it up on the Virgin Galactic White Knight 2, the big airplane, that's gonna carry it underneath, drop it, and we'll do approach and landing tests, much like what was done for the Space Shuttle before it flew into space." 
  28. ^ "Commercial Crew Development (CCDEV) video" (video). SpaceX. 2011-01-14. 3:40. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  29. ^ "Taking the next step: Commercial Crew Development Round 2". SpaceX Updates webpage. SpaceX. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  30. ^ Boeing Submits Proposal for 2nd Round Of Commercial Crew Dev, spaceflight news, December 14, 2010, accessed December 27, 2010.
  31. ^ Sowers, George (January 10, 2011). "Broadcast 1493, @07:10". broadcast of The Space Show. The Space Show. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  32. ^ "NASA Begins Commercial Partnership With United Launch Alliance". NASA. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  33. ^ Bergin, Chris. "NASA and ULA agree SAA to complete the human rating of Atlas V"., July 18, 2011.
  34. ^ [
  35. ^ Amos, Jonathon. "Atlas rocket in line for human launches". BBC News. July 18, 2011. Retrieved: July 19, 2011.
  36. ^ Malik, Tariq (2010-02-08). "Scrapped NASA Rocket May be Resurrected for Commercial Launches". Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  37. ^ "NASA, private firm may team up on Liberty rocket". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  38. ^ "Commercial Crew Program Forum Presentation", p. 7., September 16, 2011.
  39. ^ "CCP and Excalibur Sign Space Act Agreement"
  40. ^ "Excalibur Almaz, NASA sign commercial spaceflight deal"
  41. ^ "The Shape of Things to Come - Orbital’s Prometheus™ Space Plane Ready for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Initiative". 
  42. ^ Orbital Proposes Spaceplan for Astronauts, Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2010, accessed December 15, 2010.
  43. ^ Jumping into the New Space Race, Orbital Sciences Unveils Mini-Shuttle Spaceplane Design, Popular Science, 2010-12-16, accessed 2010-12-18. "Orbital Sciences isn’t the kind of independent, private, “new space” enterprise as, say, SpaceX. It’s a consortium of defense and aviation heavy-hitters: Northrop would build the plane, and the rockets would be provided by United Launch Alliance (read: Boeing and Lockheed)."
  44. ^ Orbital may wind down its commercial crew effort "Orbital may wind down its commercial crew effort". NewSpace Journal. 2011-04-22. Orbital may wind down its commercial crew effort. Retrieved 2011-04-25. "CEO Dave Thompson said ... "I don’t, at this time, anticipate that we’ll continue to pursue our own project in that race. We’ll watch it and if an opportunity develops we may reconsider. But at this point, I would not anticipate a lot of activity on our part in the commercial crew market."" 
  45. ^ "(press release) Paragon Space Development Corporation Completes All Development Milestones on the NASA Commercial Crew Development Program". Paragon. 2011-01-31. 
  46. ^ Boyle, Alan (2011-02-11). "Let's talk about the final frontier". Cosmic Log. MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-02-13. "the proposal calls for the development of a spaceship that could be sent into space on a variety of launch vehicles. ... "Up to eight crew, Soyuz-like architecture (recoverable reusable crew element, expendable orbital/cargo module). Incorporates HMX's patented integral abort system (uses OMS/RCS propellant in separate abort engines). Can fly on Atlas 401 [a configuration for the Atlas 5 rocket], F9 [SpaceX's Falcon 9] or Taurus II (enhanced) but with a reduced cargo and crew capability on the latter vehicle. Goal is to be the lowest-price provider on a per-seat basis. Nominal land recovery with water backup."" 
  47. ^ "NASA weighs plan to keep space shuttle until 2017"
  48. ^ "Round 3 of NASA CCDev Solicitations Expected This Fall". 
  49. ^ "NASA, ATK Agree to Unfunded Space Act Agreement on Liberty Rocket". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  50. ^ "Statement of William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Committee on Science, Space and Technology; U. S. House of Representatives". October 12, 2011. p. 6 and 7. 

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