NASA Agrees to Revamp NEO Program in Wake of Critical OIG Report

Asteroid Eros

Asteroid Eros

Somewhere out there in the cosmos, there’s a giant rock with Earth’s name on it. Despite the danger, NASA’s effort to identify potentially dangerous near Earth objects and figure out what to do about them is disorganized and poorly managed, an internal audit has found.

“NASA has organized its NEO Program under a single Program Executive who manages a loosely structured conglomerate of research activities that are not well integrated and lack overarching Program oversight, objectives, and established milestones to track progress,” according to an audit issued Monday by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

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Sierra Nevada Statement on Commercial Crew Awards

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Corporation has issued the following statement concerning the Commercial Crew Program awards to Boeing and SpaceX:

“Sierra Nevada Corporation recognizes that NASA has made a selection of an alternative provider(s) in the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract (CCtCap) competition. SNC is planning to have a debrief session with NASA soon to obtain the source selection statement and decision rationale. When this process is complete and after a thorough evaluation, SNC will elaborate further on its future options regarding the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract decision and the Dream Chaser program. Due to this pending activity SNC will have no further public statement at this time. We will be providing further information at a later date.

“While SNC is disappointed NASA did not select its Dream Chaser® Space System for the CCtCap contract, SNC commends NASA for initiating the effort and is privileged to have been part of returning human space flight to the United States through our awarded contracts in all other phases of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program over the past four years.”

A Few Thoughts on Commercial Crew….


It’s been two days since NASA announced commercial crew awards to Boeing and SpaceX. Now that the blogosphere and Twitterati have had their say, let’s step back and take a closer look at the most misunderstood aspect of NASA’s decision.

Much has been made about the disparity in award amounts, with Boeing receiving $4.2 billion and SpaceX “only” $2.6 billion. The difference has been variously attributed to SpaceX’s lean operations, Boeing’s high costs and overhead, and Boeing’s political influence on Capitol Hill. Some people believe NASA shafted SpaceX, giving far less funding to a superior company.

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NASA Seeks Partnerships on Reusable Suborbital Vehicles, Smallsat Launchers


NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking potential partnerships with U.S. space companies that are maturing suborbital reusable launch vehicles as well as companies pursuing development of small spacecraft orbital launch systems.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, managed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, recently issued a request for information for the commercial space industry to build partnerships that would advance the growth of space technologies and services with these companies.

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Next Dragon Mission to ISS Set for Sept. 20

Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 20, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station’s partners and managers.

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Will Congress Get Sticker Shock on Commercial Crew Awards?



SpaceX: “Deeply Honored” to be Selected for Commercial Crew

Dragon V2 spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon V2 spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk issued the following statement earlier today after SpaceX was awarded a Commercial Crew Program contract:

“SpaceX is deeply honored by the trust NASA has placed in us.  We welcome today’s decision and the mission it advances with gratitude and seriousness of purpose. It is a vital step in a journey that will ultimately take us to the stars and make humanity a multi-planet species.”

NASA Selects Boeing, SpaceX to Launch Americans to Space Station


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

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Boeing CST-100 Selected for Final Round of Commercial Crew Program

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

HOUSTON, Sept. 16, 2014 (Boeing PR) – Boeing [NYSE: BA] will receive an award of $4.2 billion from NASA to build and fly the United States’ next passenger spacecraft.

Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 is being developed as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which aims to resume U.S.-based flights to space by 2017. The CST-100 will transport up to seven passengers or a mix of crew and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and other low-Earth orbit destinations.

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NASA Awards Commercial Crew Deals to Boeing, SpaceX


Bolden announced that Boeing and SpaceX will share contracts worth up to $6.8 billion. Details to follow.

Early reports indicate Boeing gets $4.2 billion with SpaceX getting $2.6 billion.

Statement by Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello in Response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Award Announcement 9/16/2014:
“First and foremost, congratulations to Boeing and SpaceX for being selected by NASA to provide commercial crew transport of U.S. astronauts to Low Earth Orbit.
“Today’s announcement is continued good news for Florida and for the nation. It advances a new era in space transportation and is the next major step toward restoring U.S. capability to fly astronauts to the ISS and beyond. Both Boeing and SpaceX have already invested significant time and resources into establishing commercial crew operations here in Florida and we look forward to working hand-in-hand with both companies to make their upcoming missions successful.”