During a press conference this morning about a NASA-FAA agreement on commercial crew oversight, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was asked about the agency’s plans for awarding the next phase of the program.
Bolden said the agency fully expects to announce the winners of the Commercial Crew integrated
Capability (CCiCap) round in mid-July. The awards, which will cover all aspects of commercial vehicle development, will last for 21 months.
Two companies will receive full awards to develop their systems while a third will receive half of an award. This approach was worked out between Bolden and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who wanted NASA to immediately down-select to one provider.
At the end of the 21-month period, NASA will put out a request for proposals open to all bidders to provide commercial crew services under Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Bolden said. FAR includes much more rigorous government oversight than the Space Act Agreements that NASA is now using for the commercial crew program.
Bolden said that NASA would prefer that Congress fully fund the President’s request for commercial crew at $830 million for Fiscal Year 2013. NASA will ask for significantly more funding in future years to keep to a 2017 schedule for commercial crew flights.