Pre-Proposal Conference for NASA’s Commercial Program Held

Lee Pagel, NASA's Acquisition Planner, addresses attendees during the CCiCap conference held at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach, Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Photo Credit: Julian Leek

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – A conference was held at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach, Florida on Tuesday for pre-proposals for the next round of Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap). Starting at 8: 30 a.m. EST and running through noon, the conference established the groundwork for companies to become involved in the next round of the Commercial Crew Program. 

Approximately a dozen different companies attended the event. For companies that still want to submit proposal, the deadline to submit online is Mar. 23, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. EST. While proposals can go into detail – they cannot exceed 50 pages in length. 

“We really don’t care where these companies hail from, this program has no ZIP codes,” said NASA’s Program Mananger for the Commercial Crew Program. “Awards range from $300 to $400 million.”  

The group representing SpaceX huddle and consider their queries regarding the CCiCap contract. From left-to-right: David Giger, former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman and Scott Henderson. Photo Credit: Julian Leek

NASA Deputy Administrator, Lori Garver, was supposed to attend the event and to take members of the media on a tour of facilities in the Kennedy Space Center region that would be used to support Commercial Crew. Garver was to give the opening remarks for the event but cancelled when the commercial flight she was to take out of Huntsville encountered mechanical problems. The tour she was supposed to attend was also cancelled.

Three years ago, NASA began commercial crew initiatives in an effort to encourage private companies to develop and demonstrate capabilities that might lead to providing launch services to send astronauts to orbit. These efforts are centered around the creation of a crew transportation system (CTS).

Delegates attending the conference were given time to write questions that would be answered later, in detail, online. They received abbreviated answers to their questions about CCiCap while they were at the conference. If they had further questions, the deadline for them to submit any further questions was set at Feb. 28. The conference was another sign that interest in enabling commercial access to low-Earth-orbit (LEO) is growing. 

The Sierra Nevada Corporation’s delegation consisting of (from left-to-right) Menni Sanchez, former shuttle astronaut Jim Voss and Todd Mosher discuss which questions they will submit. Photo Credit: Julian Leek

“Just four years ago there was zero budget for this project,” said NASA’s Director of Commercial Spaceflight Development Philip McAlister. “Now we have the funds allocated to do what we need to do.” 

For those firms that are accepted into the next round they will be locked into achieving milestones (read dates as to when they must accomplish these objectives) – are fixed. No accomplishment – no cash and the amount for this next round is considerable.

Ed Mango NASA’s program manager for the Commercial Crew Program gives opening remarks. Mango was a last-minute replacement for NASA’s Deputy Administrator Lori Garver who was forced to cancel. Photo Credit: Julian Leek

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