NASA Commercial Crew and Cargo
|Commercial Cargo Development||2006–2013|
|Commercial Space Transportation Capabilities||2007–2010|
|Commercial Crew Development (phase 1)||2010–2011|
|Commercial Crew Development (phase 2)||2011–2012|
|Commercial Crew integrated Capability (phase 3)
(base period milestones)
|Commercial Crew integrated Capability (phase 4)
(optional period milestones)
|Certification Products Contract (crew)||2012–2014|
|Commercial Crew Transportation Capability||2014–2017|
|Commercial Resupply Services (cargo)||2011–2016|
|ISS Crew Transportation Services (crew)||2017–present|
|NASA's COTS program |
Private spaceflight companies
Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) is a multiphase, space technology development program that is funded by the U.S. government and administered by NASA. The program is intended to stimulate development of privately operated crew vehicles to be launched into low Earth orbit. The program is run by NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO).
In 2010, in the first phase of the program, NASA provided $50 million combined to five American companies; the money was intended for research and development into private-sector human spaceflight concepts and technologies. NASA solicited a second set of CCdev proposals for technology development projects lasting for a maximum of 14 months in October of that year. In April 2011, NASA announced they would award up to nearly $270 million to four companies as they met their CCDev 2 objectives.
NASA awarded Space Act Agreements for the third phase, named CCiCap, in August 2012; this would last until 2014. CCiCap is followed by CCtCap with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15 contracts, which formed the fourth and final phase of the program. Contracts were awarded to SpaceX and Boeing in September 2014. Test flights of both spacecraft are scheduled for 2019. SpaceX and Boeing have contracts with NASA to each supply six flights to ISS between 2019 and 2024. The first group of astronauts assigned to fly on the two selected spacecraft were announced on August 3, 2018.
The key, high-level requirements for the Commercial Crew vehicles include:
The NASA CCDev program followed Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), a program for developing commercial launch capability to send cargo into low Earth orbit. In December 2009, NASA provided the following description of the CCDev program:
The objectives of the Commercial Crew & Cargo Program are to implement U.S. Space Exploration policy with investments to stimulate the commercial space industry; facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration of cargo and crew space transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving safe, reliable, cost effective access to low-Earth orbit; and create a market environment in which commercial space transportation services are available to Government and private sector customers.
The Commercial Crew & Cargo Program is applying Recovery Act funds to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities. NASA plans to use funds appropriated for "Exploration" under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) through its C3PO to support efforts within the private sector to develop system concepts and capabilities that could ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services. These efforts are intended to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to job growth in engineering, analysis, design, and research and to promote economic recovery as capabilities for new markets are created.
ARRA provided $400 million for space exploration related activities. Of this amount, $50 million is to be used for the development of commercial crew space transportation concepts and enabling capabilities. This effort is known as CCDev. The purpose of this activity is to provide funding to assist viable commercial entities in the development of system concepts, key technologies, and capabilities that could ultimately be used in commercial crew human space transportation systems. This development work must show, within the timeframe of the agreement, significant progress on long lead capabilities, technologies and commercial crew risk mitigation tasks in order to accelerate the development of their commercial crew space transportation concept.
Contract funding for the CCDev program is different from traditional space industry contractor funding used on the Space Shuttle, Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury programs. Contracts are explicitly designed to fund subsystem technology development objectives that NASA wants for NASA purposes; all other system technology development is funded by the commercial contractor. Contracts are issued for fixed-price, pay-for-performance milestones. "NASA's contribution is fixed".
The first flight of the CCDev program was planned to occur in 2015, but insufficient funding caused delays. Administrator of NASA Charles Bolden attributed the delays to insufficient funding from Congress. Michael López-Alegría, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, also attributed the delays in the program to funding problems.
For the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget, US$500 million was requested for the CCDev program, but Congress granted only $270 million. For the FY 2012 budget, $850 million was requested but Congress approved a budget of $406 million, and as a result the first flight of CCDev was postponed from 2016 to 2017. For the 2013 budget, 830 million was requested but Congress approved $488 million. For the FY 2014 budget, $821 million was requested, Congress approved $696 million.[needs update] In FY 2015, NASA received $805 million from Congress for the CCDev program; 95% of the $848 million requested by the Obama administration and the largest annual amount since the beginning of the program.
After the last flight of the STS in 2011 the clock began ticking on a U.S. spaceflight gap. The previous spaceflight gap was between 1975 (a Saturn IB launch) and the first STS flight in April 1981, about six years. Unlike the last human spaceflight gap, the U.S. has bought seats on the still-active Russian launcher as part of their continuing joint international project, the International Space Station. U.S. Congress was aware such a gap could occur and accelerated funding in 2008 and 2009 in preparation for the retirement of the Shuttle. At that time the first crewed flight of the planned Ares I launcher would not have occurred until 2015, and its first use at ISS until 2016. Steps were also taken to extend STS operation past 2010. However, in 2010 the Ares I was cancelled and focus shifted to the Space Launch System and the commercial crew program. As of 2016 the first manned flight of SLS is Exploration Mission 2, to launch in 2021 at the earliest. As of 2016 a manned commercial crew mission might occur as early as 2018. If NASA does get access to its own launcher it may be able to again trade seats rather than buy them, or the two countries may organize another sale. NASA has bought seats for 2018, and it may need to buy seats for 2019 also.
NASA bought seats on the Russian launcher even while the Space Shuttle was active, and partners in the International Space Station project needed to cross-train on each-others launchers and equipment. When the STS program ended, this aspect of the involvement in ISS continued, and NASA has a contract for seats until at least 2017. The price has varied over time, and the batch of seats from 2016 to 2017 works out to 70.7 million per passenger per flight. The use of the Russian launcher Soyuz by NASA was a part of the ISS program which was orchestrated in the 1990s when that project was planned out: it is used as the emergency lifeboat for the station even before the Space Shuttle retired so anyone staying on the station had to train on this spacecraft regardless. The first Soyuz flight to ISS in 2000 included a U.S. astronaut (Soyuz TM-31 as part of Expion 1). U.S. astronauts regularly flew on the Soyuz while the Shuttle program regularly visited the Station, even as it brought major components. Likewise Russian and other international partners also flew on the Space Shuttle and the Soyuz spacecraft, sometimes only on one direction of the journey.
The U.S. was working on an emergency escape vehicle called the HL-20 Personnel Launch System but was cancelled in 1993 in favor of using extra Soyuz spacecraft as lifeboats; not developing another spacecraft was seen as a way to save money in the aftermath of restructuring the Space Station Freedom project when the USSR dissolved in 1991. Regardless, CCDev "seats" have often been compared to Soyuz prices for comparison during its development. With no other launcher available NASA may have to buy seats until 2019 to access the international space station. The other main partners in ISS, the ESA, cancelled its own manned launch system, the Hermes mini-shuttle, in 1992. The ESA had previously traded Spacelab hardware for flights on Space Shuttles. There has been some interest from Europe in the CCDev contenders, especially with Dream Chaser, with one party saying it was, "..ideal vehicle for a broad range of space applications."
Under CCDev phase 1, NASA has entered into funded Space Act Agreements with several companies working on technologies and systems for human space flight. Funding was provided as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A total of $50 million for 2010 was awarded to five American companies with the intention of fostering research and development into human spaceflight concepts and technologies in the private sector. The phase 1 amount was originally intended to be $150 million, most of which was diverted to the Constellation program by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). All 53 delivery milestones for the five companies were scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
NASA awarded development funds to five companies under CCDev 1:
During the evaluation phase of CCDev1 proposals were received from the following participants:
NASA sought a second set of Commercial Crew Development proposals in October 2010. These could be both new concepts and proposals that mature the design and development of system elements, such as launch vehicles and spacecraft. NASA originally planned to issue about $200 million of Space Act Agreements in March 2011. On April 18, 2011, NASA awarded nearly $270 million to four companies for developing U.S. vehicles that could fly astronauts after the Space Shuttle fleet's retirement.
In August the same year, NASA provided status on the progress milestones of the four companies developing crew vehicle technologies under CCDev 2. There are nine-to-eleven specific milestones, spread over the second quarter of 2011 through to the second quarter of 2012, that each company must meet to receive their performance-based funding for CCDev 2.
Winners of funding in the second round of the CCDev were:
Proposals that were not awarded funds in the second round of the CCDev program were:
The Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative is the third round of the CCdev program and was originally called CCDev 3. For this phase of the program, NASA wanted proposals to be complete, end-to-end designs including spacecraft, launch vehicles, launch services, ground and mission operations, and recovery. In September 2011, NASA released a draft request for proposals (RFP).
The U.S. government's was originally intended to use a new contracting mechanism for CCiCap that differed from the Space Act Agreement's fixed-price, milestone-based contracts of the previous phases. As of October 2011[update], NASA was planning to award competitive contracts under the more traditional Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) system instead of using Space Act Agreements. After some months of planning for the new-style contracting approach, NASA announced in mid-December 2011 it would resume use of Space Act Agreements because of Congressional funding reductions to the program for Fiscal Year 2012. NASA planned to use FAR contracts for the certification of Commercial Transportation Services to the ISS. The final RFP was released on February 7, 2012, with proposals due on March 23, 2012.
The funded Space Act Agreements were awarded on August 3, 2012, and amended on August 15, 2013. CCiCap contracts were planned to be completed by August 2014. NASA hoped facilitating development of this U.S. capability will provide safe, reliable and cost effective human transportation to low-Earth orbit (LEO).
Winners of funding in the third round of the Commercial Crew Development program, announced on August 3, 2012, were:
NASA reported that as of November 2014[update], Boeing had completed its CCiCap milestones; Sierra Nevada had completed 10 of its 13 milestones; SpaceX had completed 13 of its 18 milestones. SpaceX received an extra milestone that is to be completed by March 2015. The milestones are listed in the appendixes to the Funded Space Act Agreements.[N 1] In May 2014, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX completed reviews detailing plans to meet NASA's certification requirements to transport crew members to and from the ISS.
In June 2014, Boeing announced it intended to send out preliminary lay-off notices to 215 employees—approximately 170 in Houston and 45 in Florida—to prepare for the possibility that Boeing would not be selected to continue work into the next phase following the expected NASA shortlist in mid-2014. These advance notices are required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) legislation under U.S. law, and must be issued 60 days before any large lay-off is expected to take effect. If Boeing was selected to continue, the lay-offs would not occur and Boeing would hire an additional 75 personnel. Sierra Nevada "is not preparing any WARN notices to its Dream Chaser workforce".
The first phase of the Certification Products Contract (CPC) involved the review of the integrated crew transportation systems through the creation of a certification plan that would result in the development of engineering standards, tests and analyses of the systems' designs. This phase of CPC was expected to run from January 22, 2013, to May 30, 2014.
Winners of funding of phase 1 of the CPC, announced on December 10, 2012, were:
The second phase of the CPC was expected to begin in mid-2014; it would involve a full and open competition and would include the final development, testing and verifications to allow crewed demonstration flights to the ISS. Phase 2 is called Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap). NASA proposed the second phase of the program would begin purchasing commercial astronaut transportation services with the CCtCap solicitation. Contract award and funding occurred in 2014; flights of NASA astronauts on CCtCap-provided vehicles would not occur before 2017. In a change from previous CCDev programs where commercial providers tested the developed technology to NASA contractual requirements, CCtCap will include Joint Test Teams (JTT) with NASA personnel operating in a traditional NASA acquisition approach in which NASA oversees some design choices and offers flexible-price cost-sharing to pay for the tests. NASA issued the draft CCtCap contract's Request For Proposals (RFP) on July 19, 2013; the response date was August 15, 2013.
According to the letter and Executive Summary:
There are four separate Contract Line Items (CLINs) for CTS certification; ISS mission support, special studies and additional cargo capability if proposed.:p. 4 NASA was to supply four Docking System Block 1 Units on a no-charge-for-use basis. The first unit would be available in February 2016.:p. 8 NASA held a Commercial Crew Pre-proposal Conference at Kennedy Space Center on December 4, 2013, after formally requesting proposals for CCtCap in late November that year.
NASA's 2014 budget for CCtCap was US$696 million; it was reduced from an Obama Administration request of US$821 million. In May 2014, NASA announced each awardee was to perform at least one crewed test flight to verify the spacecraft could dock with the ISS and all its systems performed as expected. NASA intended to meet its station crew rotation requirements by including at least two, and at most six crewed, post-certification missions in the contracts. NASA also intended CCtCap would allow U.S. providers to supply other customers.
On September 16, 2014, NASA announced that Boeing and SpaceX had received contracts to provide crewed launch services to the ISS. For completing the same contract requirements, Boeing could receive up to US$4.2 billion, while SpaceX could receive up to US$2.6 billion. Both Boeing CST-100 flying on United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V and SpaceX Dragon V2 flying on Falcon 9 were awarded for the same set of requirements: completing development and certification of their crew vehicle then flying a certification flight followed by up to six operational flights to the ISS. The contracts included at least two operational flights for each company.
The total program award of US$6.8 billion covers development costs through CCtCap program funding—$3.42 billion over the years 2015–2019 with $848 million in the commercial crew budget request for FY 2015—and $3.4 billion for operational crew resupply to the ISS—12 flights with four astronauts on each flight, where NASA assumed the same per-seat price of $70.7 million it would pay for each Soyuz seat in 2016. With the program awards in September, NASA did not release the number of proposals it received or any details about the selection process; it stated such information would be released "at an 'appropriate' but unspecified date".
On September 26, 2014, Sierra Nevada Corporation submitted a protest of the CCtCap awards, stating to have undercut Boeing by $900 million while scoring close to its competitors in the other criteria. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) had until January 5, 2015, to rule on the protest. By October 1, 2014, NASA had instructed Boeing and SpaceX to halt work on the CCtCap contracts. On October 8, 2014, NASA instructed the contractors to proceed with contract work during the GAO review. In January 2015, the GAO denied Sierra Nevada Corporation's protest.
In 2016 the firms scheduled additional testing and certification milestones. The auditors do not expect the first flights until late 2018.
As of September 2016[update] although both companies are advancing they are running behind their previous schedule. Additional milestones have been agreed with NASA see Annex B (Boeing) and Annex C (SpaceX) of the September 2016 Audit of the Commercial Crew Program. Boeing increased its milestones from 23 to 34 and has achieved 15. SpaceX has increased its milestones from 18 to 21 and has achieved 8. SpaceX also has an uncompleted milestone left over from CCiCap.
As of January 2017[update] NASA has ordered twelve commercial post-certification missions to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station, six with each supplier. Astronaut selections for the first four missions were announced on August 2, 2018.
|Dragon 2||SpX-DM1||Uncrewed test flight||None||February 2019|
|CST-100||Boe-OFT||Uncrewed test flight||None||March 2019|
|Dragon 2||In-flight abort test at max Q||None||May 2019|
|Dragon 2||SpX-DM2||Crewed test flight||Robert Behnken, Douglas Hurley||June 2019|
|CST-100||Boe-CFT||Crewed test flight||Eric Boe, Christopher Ferguson, Nicole Aunapu Mann||August 2019|
|Dragon 2||Crew-1||First Dragon mission to ISS||Victor J. Glover, Michael S. Hopkins||September 2019|
|CST-100||CTS-1||First Starliner mission to ISS||Josh Cassada, Sunita Williams||February 2020|
The funding of all commercial crew contractors for each phase of the CCP program is as follows—CCtCap values are maxima and include post-development operational flights
|Manufacturers of spacecraft|
|The Boeing Company||18.0||92.3 + 20.61||460.0 + 203||9.9||4,200.0||4,820.9|
|Sierra Nevada Corporation||20.0||80.0 + 25.61||212.5 + 153||10.0||–||362.1|
|SpaceX||–||75.0||440.0 + 203||9.6||2,600.0||3,144.6|
|Manufacturers of launch vehicles|
|United Launch Alliance||6.7||0||–||–||–||6.7|
|Alliant Techsystems (ATK)||–||0||–||–||–||0|
|Paragon Space Development Corporation||1.4||–||–||–||–||1.4|
1 Additional amount awarded in 2011.
Just as in the COTS projects, in the CCDev project we have fixed-price, pay-for-performance milestones," Thorn said. "There's no extra money invested by NASA if the projects cost more than projected.
If NASA had received the President's requested funding for this plan, we would not have been forced to recently sign a new contract with Roscosmos for Soyuz transportation flights. Because the funding for the President's plan has been significantly reduced, we now won't be able to support American launches until 2017. Even this delayed availability will be in question if Congress does not fully support the President's fiscal year 2014 request for our Commercial Crew Program, forcing us once again to extend our contract with the Russians.
Had we gotten the funding that was first requested when I became the NASA administrator [in 2009], we would have been all joyously going to the Kennedy Space Center later this year to watch the first launch of some commercial spacecraft with our crew members on it.
This spacecraft, the size of a business jet, will take cargo and up to eight people into low Earth orbit, where the space station is located, and then return and land on commercial airport runways.
the CCDev-2 awards, ... went to Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Inc. (SpaceX).
Behind me is the Dream Chaser. It's the core structure that will become an atmospheric flight test vehicle in 2012 for drop tests. We're gonna take it up on the Virgin Galactic White Knight 2, the big airplane, that's gonna carry it underneath, drop it, and we'll do approach and landing tests, much like what was done for the Space Shuttle before it flew into space.
CEO Dave Thompson said ... "I don't, at this time, anticipate that we'll continue to pursue our own project in that race. We'll watch it and if an opportunity develops we may reconsider. But at this point, I would not anticipate a lot of activity on our part in the commercial crew market."
the proposal calls for the development of a spaceship that could be sent into space on a variety of launch vehicles. ... "Up to eight crew, Soyuz-like architecture (recoverable reusable crew element, expendable orbital/cargo module). Incorporates HMX's patented integral abort system (uses OMS/RCS propellant in separate abort engines). Can fly on Atlas 401 [a configuration for the Atlas 5 rocket], F9 [SpaceX's Falcon 9] or Taurus II (enhanced) but with a reduced cargo and crew capability on the latter vehicle. Goal is to be the lowest-price provider on a per-seat basis. Nominal land recovery with water backup."
We basically awarded based on the proposals that we were given," Kathy Lueders, NASA commercial crew program manager, said in a teleconference with reporters after the announcement. "Both contracts have the same requirements. The companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work, and the government accepted that.