A leaked copy of an Aerospace Corporation presentation to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden on commercial crew program has surfaced. And man, has it set off a sh***storm. Within hours of its publication, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation put out a press release attacking its conclusions. And the blogosphere has lit up with various denunciations of the Aerospace Corporation for supposedly trashing the viability of commercial space.
But, when you look at it more closely, something doesn’t quite add up.
The PowerPoint presentation is strangely incomplete. As CSF points out, there isn’t an analysis of the business case for seven-person vehicles. Boeing and SpaceX are both proposing seven-person capsules, so they believe they can close the business case with vehicles of that size. There’s no way that Aerospace Corporation would not have evaluated it. The PowerPoint presentation contains no data from the commercial crew providers. And there’s no review of other key issues, such as who pays for NASA’s existing ground infrastructure.
The Aerospace Corporation is not this sloppy. The company would not make a presentation to the NASA Administrator that left out such vital analysis. Nor would Bolden or anyone else at the space agency sit through such a session that failed to look at the most viable options.
This just don’t smell right. It seems like a selective leak of supposedly damagingÂ information that comes as NASA is fighting for money for its commercial crew effort and is about to announce another $270 million in funds to providers.