June 16th through June 22nd, 2014
Senate Appropriations Bill to Give Commercial Crew $805 Million, But May Come With Costs and Delays
Earlier this month, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a record $805 million to fund NASA’s commercial crew programs. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL.) proposed a spending bill in conjunction with this appropriation to include overwhelmingly strict federal accounting standards traditionally seen in NASA contracts. This raises concerns of increased costs and delayed schedules for NASA which have generally been avoided through Space Act agreements’ set milestones and deadlines. Resisting these changes is Senate Commerce science and space committee chairman Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) who says that the provision needs “the right mix of oversight and innovation in how NASA contracts for this competition”. However, due to procedural issues, the bill is now stalled.
In a reaction to American NewSpace companies driving launch costs down, Europe’s two biggest aerospace companies Airbus Group and Safran are joining forces to manufacture and design rockets to keep Europe globally competitive. The two companies in the past have already done joint work on the Ariane rocket series. Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders believes that the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, now slated for completion in 2021, will be a failure without the merger.
In response to the House of Representative FY2015 defense appropriations bill, the Obama administration released a statement outlining their objections to $220 million appropriated to find a replacement for the Russian RD-180 rocket engine. They refer to an undisclosed independent study that projects this kind of development over the next 8 years to include $1.5 and $3 billion in development of the engine and corresponding launch vehicle respectively. Meanwhile, ULA is making plans of searching for an alternative by themselves. The company announced that they have signed “contracts with multiple American companies to investigate next-generation liquid oxygen/hydrocarbon first stage propulsion concepts”.
“Focused on Settlement Policy for the NewSpace Citizens of the Universe.”
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