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NASA Space Science

NASA To Propose Commercial Space Initiative 151

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the healthy-competition dept.
MarkWhittington writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that starting with the FY2011 budget request for NASA, the Obama administration intends to propose a new program to encourage the development of a commercial space flight industry. 'The controversial proposal, expected to be included in the Obama administration's next budget, would open a new chapter in the US space program. The goal is to set up a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar initiative allowing private firms, including some start-ups, to compete to build and operate spacecraft capable of ferrying US astronauts into orbit—and eventually deeper into the solar system. Congress is likely to challenge the concept's safety and may balk at shifting dollars from existing National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs already hurting for funding to the new initiative. The White House's ultimate commitment to the initiative is murky, according to these people, because the budget isn't expected to outline a clear, long-term funding plan.'"
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NASA To Propose Commercial Space Initiative

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  • It's a good idea. (Score:3, Informative)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:24PM (#30898420)
    My company has had a lot of trouble convincing our government clients to go with fixed firm pricing. Ultimately, it comes down to control. They like cost plus because it keeps them in charge, they continually approve additional work and ask for things to be redone particular way, and if it costs more it costs more. With fixed firm, they can't really micro-manage us because we will come back and say that it's not what were planning on doing and we can't afford to change it under the fixed firm price.

    There's also the perception that companies can make a lot more profit on fixed firm (which is true, but the risk of losing money is greater also).

    I think fixed firm is a better way to go for everyone involved, so it will be neat to see if this works out. On the other hand, I am skeptical that it will pass congress for the reasons I've mentioned above.

    A lot of people seem to think that this will lead to corporate profit-taking, or that it will lead to less accountability for government contractors. That is simply not true, since the companies operating under such a contract are required to deliver. Companies failing to perform are still legally required to meet their obligations, so poor decision making would lead to bankruptcy. Likewise, there is a huge incentive to try to lower costs, because any cost savings will be profit at the end of the contract.
  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:25PM (#30899418) Homepage
    LEO hops to where, Space Dock??

    Once you're in orbit, you're halfway to anywhere.
    Robert A. Heinlein

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @01:28PM (#30906782) Journal

    No, that's bullshit. They polled MA voters, and they still want socialized medicine. Coakley is a shill, she ran a craptastic campaign, and people are pissed that Dems haven't done enough.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/01/20/poll-majority-of-massachusetts-health-voters-wanted-to-save-ref/ [politicsdaily.com]

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.