Space Access 10: NASA’s Charles Miller Discusses New Approach to Low-Cost Space Access

Charles Miller
Senior Advisor for Commercial Space, NASA Headquarters
“A NACA Apporach to Low-Cost Reliable Access to Space”

Praised XCOR CEO Jeff Greason as doing “an unbelievably amazing job” as a member of the Augustine Commission

Opening cheap access to space changes everything….significant economic benefits to the world, and substantial national security benefits

NACA partnership approach is proven and successful…worked with aviation industry…didn’t pick winners…helped to build an industry, not a program…

Looking at air mail as a model for helping to create a market via the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research program (CRuSR)

Previous Attempts at Cheap Access to Space Failed

  • Space shuttle – 1970s
  • National Aerospace Plane (NASP) – 1980s
  • X-33 – 1990s
  • National Aerospace Initiative – NASA/USAF Project – 2000s

Repeating History

In 1898, Department of War gave Dr. Samuel Langley a $50,000 grant to develop the first airplane
It took 5 years instead of 1 year, went over budget, failed in a couple of attempts in 1903. The Wright brothers succeeded about 10 days after Langley’s failed attempt.

Problem: centrally-planned programmatic approach to “pick a winner”


  • Utilize an open innovation approach
  • NACA approach – build an industry, not a program
  • NACA structure generates holistic consensus on priority problems that breaks through the background noise