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"Based on the experience of recent NASA program innovations, such as the COTS program, a human return to the Moon may not be as expensive as previously thought."
Also see: Charles Miller, "Affording a Return to the Moon by Leveraging Commercial Partnerships," Charles Miller, Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group, September 30, 2015.
"There is a lack of clarity regarding what the Certifying Official is actually addressing.
Neither view was the intent of the original certification plan. The intent was a partnership that leveraged the commercial practices and experience of SpaceX and decades of Air Force experience to meet the needs of the Air Force for confidence in the capability and reliability of the SpaceX launch system. In particular, it was never envisioned that the Air Force would drive changes in design, processes, and organization to achieve certification. Neither was it expected the Falcon 9 launch experience would suffice to provide the needed confidence in Falcon 9 v1.1 for national security payloads. Instead, it was expected there would be a manageable set of issues requiring resolution, some requiring resolution at the top level.
The Balance between the What and How
The daily focus of members of the NECT for the past decade or so has been intensely on confidence in individual successful deliveries to orbit. That requires assessment of specific processes and hardware associated with the specific launch vehicle. The traditional approach is prescriptive."
"The next era of space exploration will see governments pushing technological development and the American private sector using these technologies as they expand their economic activities to new worlds. NASA's next objectives for exploration--visits to asteroids and Mars--are more complex than any previous space mission attempted.
They will happen in the context of relatively smaller NASA budgets and an expanding commercial space economy. Teaming with private sector partners to develop keystone markets like low Earth orbit (LEO) transportation and technological capabilities like asteroid mining will help NASA achieve its mission goals, help the space economy evolve to embrace new ambitions, and provide large economic returns to the taxpayer through the stimulation and growth of new businesses and 21st century American jobs."
"As NASA develops its deep space exploration strategy, identification of options for leveraging private investment and contributing to U.S. economic competitiveness in the process will be critical to establishing a sustainable path."
"From 2006 to 2013, under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program managed by C3PO, NASA acted as an investor and advisor with three different and distinct companies in the space transportation industry to promote the development of U.S. space transportation capabilities on the frontier of human exploration."
"Both the SpaceX and Orbital low- Earth orbit transportation systems were developed with a total NASA COTS investment of just $788 million ($500 original funding plus $288 million fiscal year 2011 augmentation)."
"The NASA Air Force Cost Model (NAFCOM) estimate for the cost to develop the SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle, based on the NASA environment and culture, ranged from as low as $443 million to as high as approximately $4 billion. However the final cost for developing and demonstrating the Falcon 9 rocket was only about $400 million—up to 10 times less than projected."
"In a June 2009 report, the Government Accountability Office commended C3PO for its responsible use of government monies. Particularly noted was the very small percentage of the program’s budget applied to management and overhead."
1991 - SPACEHAB
"Thus, the lease cost [commercial SpaceHab] is 16% of the purchase cost [traditional contracting]"
- Acquisition complexity: Can be computed
- Helps explain cost differences among commercial and commercial-like programs
- Is being used for NRO estimates"
"Although some of these drivers are symptoms of a technically complex system, they should also serve as a guide to program managers to indicate when a commercial-like acquisition may be appropriate and how to tailor their acquisition program to reduce cost."
"With more countries and private companies expanding their activities in space, the US government must reshape its space agencies and policies. Cooperation and catalysis will be key.
Choosing when and how to leverage outside players is not a trivial matter, and each agency involved in such experimentation would need to establish an overarching rationale for any outsourcing or partnering. Government agencies could, for example, with certain exceptions for strategic reasons, identify external capabilities to do what is more efficient to do outside, such as to launch crew and cargo into low-Earth orbit. They could also use outside capabilities to do what is difficult to do in-house, such as employing a private firm to use a high-risk modular architecture for a journey to Mars. It goes without saying that both would be difficult shifts at agencies with a strong culture of resisting ideas “not invented here.”
As government agencies take on the role of catalysts and leverage outside skills, it is possible that many in-house skills would become redundant when superior skills are found outside, whereas others would become more desirable. Many agencies would need to evolve from being technology-driven to acquisition-driven, becoming entities in which the skill set required is that of scouting for talent and ideas rather than doing the work. This would make them similar to various other mission agencies, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health. As a result, many of the agencies would need to evaluate how to best reorganize their structures to fit with their new roles."
"The lower degree of political interference (Boycko et al., 1996), risk transfers and the more up-to-date technical and management knowledge of private actors dealing with a global contract bundling investments and service provision (Hart, 2003) are widely viewed as the three main drivers of improvements in efficiency that PPP can contribute to the delivery of public services. But research also shows that the reality is a lot more subtle and the efficiency outcome of PPPs should be expected to be less predictable than often assumed."
"The Federal Highway Administration of the US Department of Transportation, which has a long experience in PPPs, defines 6 different types of PPPs: Design Bid Build, Private Contract Fee Services, Design Build, Build Operate Transfer (BOT), Long Term Lease Agreements, Design Build Finance Operate (DBFO), and Build Own Operate (BOO). We remark that the American experience with PPPs is wider than the European one, and consequently the US interpretation is broader “and covers a variety of instruments through which government involves business and not for- profits in the realization of public policy goals.”