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#1 2006-05-09 16:57:51

Seer
Member
Registered: 2006-04-18
Posts: 13

Re: COTS - status

The 24 proposals have been cut down to 6. (SpaceDev is apparently the 6th)

http://spacetransportnews.com/

Obviously, Spacex and Kistler should be there, but I'm surprised that Orbital Sciences isn't there, also the Aquarius scheme by loral/spacesystems.

I wonder what was most important in the decision making: the proposal's technical merits; whether the company had actually built hardware; the company's size and financial resources; politics/cronyism?

Before today I would have said that Spacex, Kistler, Orbital Sciences, SpaceHab, Loral and Tspace, in that order, were the favorites. SpaceX would be number one by some margin, Kistler is nearest to completion but has serious management problems, the others are there because the companies actually have experience in building things.

Can a COTS system be built for $500 million or half or a third of that amount?
It seems a pittance compared to the $5 billion on CEV plus an other $5 billion on the CLV. Sure the Stick is bigger and more capable, but were talking about an order of magnitude difference in costs. Perhaps Nasa will pony up some more money later?

Does anybody know how many COTS flights a year are required for the ISS? It should be at least 4 cargo and two crew, as far as I can figure out. If the Europeans and Japanese decide to use it as well instead of their own craft, or Russian vehicles, then it could be quite a few launches.

Anyway, my money is on SpaceX and Kistler jointly sharing the pot - they seem to like Kistler, didn't they award a cargo resupply contract to them a few years ago?  I suspect, though, that SpaceX could put  the money to better use.

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#2 2006-05-09 20:53:46

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: COTS - status

Here is another source Finalists picked in NASA's private space race; Several companies go to next round of talks over space station resupply

The space agency is planning to announce the winner or winners late this summer, said James Bailey, NASA's contracting officer for the COTS program. Bailey declined to say anything more about the next round of discussions, citing concerns about proprietary information. He even declined to define the word "several."

This program is to take over the resupply once shuttle stops flying around 2010 and until the CEV starts sometime between 2011 - 2014. Since Nasa has purchase 2 soyuz for crew transfers to the ISS while the shuttles are down. One can only hope that the 20 million per ship is the target that the COTS supplies will target so as to keep US jobs.

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#3 2006-05-13 16:13:00

Seer
Member
Registered: 2006-04-18
Posts: 13

Re: COTS - status

Apparently every one of the six offered crew transport, which might explain why the Aquarius scheme wasn't chosen.
It's good that Nasa is going for crew capability - it shows that they are taking COTS seriously.

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#4 2006-05-14 02:23:08

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

The 24 proposals have been cut down to 6. (SpaceDev is apparently the 6th)

http://spacetransportnews.com/

Obviously, Spacex and Kistler should be there, but I'm surprised that Orbital Sciences isn't there, also the Aquarius scheme by loral/spacesystems.

Indeed. Neither are Boeing or LM, the only other US suppliers of proven orbital launch systems. What's going on?


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#5 2006-05-19 11:33:37

publiusr
Member
From: Alabama
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 682

Re: COTS - status

Sadly, Griffin has had to adopt the old Goldin era tactic of "hand them a sucker and the brats will shut up for awhile."

Give them just enough to keep them busy, and out of our hair.

That kind of nickel and diming (where everybody got a little piece of the pie, but no one program really got what it needed) was what caused the Goldin era stagnation we are still recovering from.

I miss the old Griffin. (VSE first and damn everything else). He is reduced to bribes now. I wonder if the t/Space frauds will continue to bash NASA even with their mouths full.

Probably--they and the rest are ingrates no different than that old fossil Mikulski in D.C. Griffin rescued her Hubble, and now she undermines him with her and Boehlert's bashing.

Too bad they can't join Proxmire and go Tango Uniform.

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#6 2006-05-31 13:25:53

Seer
Member
Registered: 2006-04-18
Posts: 13

Re: COTS - status

More on COTS. http://space.com/businesstechnology/060 … _cots.html

Does anyone know if Kistler's K1 rocket is to use a crew capsule that returns separatly from the K1, or do the crew come back down with the main rocket?

Spacehab plan to use the Atlas and Delta boosters. Are they man rated? If not then won't it cost a lot to do so? I can't see nasa going for it, personally, they cost around $80 million already, add a capsule and it's CEV lite.

Still, Spacehab are part of SpaceX's bid, which must be the favourite. The only question is, how much of the $500 million will they get?

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#7 2006-05-31 17:13:16

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: COTS - status

The Kislter rocket has two stages, both kerosene powerd, which are both supposed to be reuseable. They've been working on it for years and its still far from done, and despite a $400M bail-out from NASA years ago they went bankrupt and got bought by Rocketplane.

The SpaceDev entry is a joke, little more then an HL-20 shaped version of SpaceShipOne on a non-exsistant booster.

t/Space too, they are out of their leauge, after all their patron built the pathetic SpaceShipOne

SpaceX, as much as I favor Elon for building rockets, is a looong way off from building a capsule nor the relativly huge rocket to go with it. Its bigger then the Atlas-V.

Spacehab has an interesting entry, and might actually work, because it doesn't need a new launch vehicle, using the tried-and-tested rockets from Lockheed/Boeing. However, they have no option for crew probably because of this.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#8 2006-05-31 22:03:39

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

Spacehab has an interesting entry, and might actually work, because it doesn't need a new launch vehicle, using the tried-and-tested rockets from Lockheed/Boeing. However, they have no option for crew probably because of this.

Spacehab are keeping the type of launch vehicle well hidden on their Apex site, AFAICS they don't even mention LM or Boeing directly. The video "shows" an Atlas V launch vehicle, now that's going to be expensive. LM must be smiling about that smile


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#9 2006-06-01 01:05:47

Seer
Member
Registered: 2006-04-18
Posts: 13

Re: COTS - status

The Kislter rocket has two stages, both kerosene powerd, which are both supposed to be reuseable. They've been working on it for years and its still far from done, and despite a $400M bail-out from NASA years ago they went bankrupt and got bought by Rocketplane.

Sure, I know that. What I was asking was whether the second stage releases a crew capsule that returns to Earth like any other capsule, or whether the crew cabin stays with the second stage throughout the flight.

Spacehab has an interesting entry, and might actually work, because it doesn't need a new launch vehicle, using the tried-and-tested rockets from Lockheed/Boeing. However, they have no option for crew probably because of this.

Are those rockets man rated? I'm surprised that Spacehab didn't go for the Falcon 9 for its booster, instead.
I agree that Spacedev and Tspace are out of it.

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#10 2006-06-01 06:04:38

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: COTS - status

As far as I know, Kistler has always planned that the upper stage would also serve as the reuseable crew/cargo capsule, at least according to their glossies.

Atlas and Delta aren't cheap, but they have the twin advantages of actually exsisting and being politically favorable (the USAF is dying for customers). They probably have the best shot of any of the outfits of actually working.

But neither are man-rated, which could be a big strike against their plan. Unless the Falcon-IX is actually built of course, which I think is a decidedly shakey assumption.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#11 2006-06-09 11:10:35

publiusr
Member
From: Alabama
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 682

Re: COTS - status

At least he is bending metal--I'll give him that.

Branson talks about spaceports where Musk is putting his money into actual hardware

I respect that.

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#13 2006-07-01 23:19:38

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

No news here at all. It seems very unlikely that crew transportation services will be privately supplied soon simply because nobody is able to do it except the Russians. Cargo to the ISS is another matter, this should be possible by 2010.

BTW the FY 2007 budget request for ISS Cargo Crew Services is $191m, up from $51m in 2006 and due to further increase to $292m in 2008.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#14 2006-07-24 15:01:18

Seer
Member
Registered: 2006-04-18
Posts: 13

Re: COTS - status

Not sure if this is good news or not for KistlerRocketplane

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/PR/NASA_COTS_072406.pdf

Orbital was a COTS contestant, but lost presumably because it hadn't been developing a launch vehicle before COTS. Kistler on the other hand has a lot of development behind it but lacks good management and capital.

I think that they are a credible alternative to SpaceX, and will take half the money along with SpaceX.

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#15 2006-08-11 15:37:53

publiusr
Member
From: Alabama
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 682

Re: COTS - status

Their big investor walked out on them. That is the number one failing of the alt.spacers:

--the questionable nature of the bored rich; like that tax cheat Anderson for one.


Spaceflight is too important to be left up to the whim of the Bransons.

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#16 2006-08-18 13:45:59

Seer
Member
Registered: 2006-04-18
Posts: 13

Re: COTS - status

COTs to be decided today. I think that Spacehab are credible possiblity, but only if they use SpaceX's Falcon 9. I'd like to see Kistler chosen  - to get more data as to  how difficult it is to develop a reusable transport -  even though I think that the management is a little questionable.

If SpaceX and Spacehab are chosen, and the Falcon 9 is chosen as a lauch vehicle for both, then the Falcon 9 has a much greater chance of making it to launch. Otherwise I  think it will be too expensive to man-rate the delta/atlas vehicles.

So my choices are SpaceX and Spacehab with Falcon 9, or SpaceX and Kistler without.

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#17 2006-08-19 00:19:56

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: COTS - status

wow, SpaceX and Kistler won!

The larger of the two COTS awards went to SpaceX, which will receive $278 million in NASA seed money to help fund the development and flight demonstration of Dragon, a ballistic capsule launch atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket currently in development.

Rocketplane Kistler, meanwhile, would receive $207 million to help complete the K-1 reusable rocket and develop a cargo module that, like Dragon, could later be modified to carry astronauts to the space station.

Source: http://www.space.com/news/060818_nasa_cots_wrap.html

Edit:

Earlier this summer, the firm (Kistler) also announced that Orbital Sciences Corporation would take over as the K-1’s prime contractor in the event of a COTS win.

So Seer's initial post, about being surprized Orbital Sciences not being there has been answered! smile


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#18 2006-08-19 20:30:06

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: COTS - status

There are several points to the COTS program that I find  to be not the norm for how Nasa does business. One is the point of not paying until work can be shown at specific points between now and when they fly there demonstrator flights. Another point is the dispersment amounts not being 50/50 show something with how Nasa feels about these contenders maybe?
While these are not the normal space corporations they do have a chance. SpaceX once they can get the Falcon 1 bugs worked out so they can make some money can then move on to the next step. While the Rocketplane team of Kistler could get there a little faster if the can get a TPS system for the Kistler 1 to complete the existing hardware.

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#19 2006-08-21 12:40:32

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: COTS - status

I think they have this title all wrong NASA outsources cargo spaceship development
Yes it does represent the first time NASA has commissioned the development and manufacture of spacecraft that will not be owned by the government. But it is not outsourcing. However this is a must take first steps in developing a commercial space industry beyound the government/ military contractors in the business.

In another posturing move Orbital to Oversee Production and Operation of Rocketplane Kistler's K-1 Reusable Launch Vehicle

NASA chooses Australia site for rocket launches

NASA has announced that rockets will be launched from Woomera in outback South Australia to service the International Space Station (ISS) - starting in 2008. NASA has selected two American companies to launch rockets from the Woomera base. Rocket Plane Kistler and Space-X will conduct orbital flight tests and commercial operations. The Woomera site would also be used to launch cargo such as fuel and food to the ISS as often as every two weeks.

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#20 2006-08-23 09:09:17

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: COTS - status

A re-read of Arthur C. Clarke's "Prelude to Space," which takes place in Australia before it became Oz, is wonderfully entertaining even after all the intervening 50+ years. Not too much has changed since then as far as spaceship launchings are concerned in spite of all the efforts by national space agencies since then. His story of a British semi-private spaceplane project, from its bare beginnings to successful completion, makes one wonder: What if they hadn't quit, back then, at Woomera....

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#21 2006-09-28 19:30:31

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: COTS - status

After getting the award, Kistler had partnered with Orbital but that seems to be changing.
Rocketplane Kistler Announces Strategic Relationship

Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) and Andrews Space, Inc. (Andrews) announced today that they have entered into a strategic relationship to support the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program and other applications of RpK’s innovative space transportation system.

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#22 2006-09-28 19:56:21

PurduesUSAFguy
Member
From: Purdue University
Registered: 2004-04-04
Posts: 237

Re: COTS - status

It doesn't suprise me very much that Kistler would dump orbital as their prime sub-contractor. The Alt.Space start ups aren't going to have much hope of actually producing vehicles given their reletivley meager budgets if they delegate major sub-systems to the primes with their low production rate high cost structures. This is the conclusion SpaceX came to and is why they are so vertically integrated. What Alt.Space needs now is Alt.SubContractors that can do things like make friction stir welded LiAl tanks for a fraction of the cost of Michoud.

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#23 2006-09-29 04:43:35

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: COTS - status

Ha! Or else Kistler only hired Orbital so they'd have enough credibility to win a major NASA contract, and then dump them as soon as the ink was dry.

AltSpace: not only incompetant, but dishonest too.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#24 2006-09-29 05:19:53

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

It doesn't suprise me very much that Kistler would dump orbital as their prime sub-contractor.

More likely it was the other way around. Orbital dumped Kistler because they now have the Orion LAS contract and their books are full. One theory is that they hedged the COTS deal with the Orion one and now they've made a business choice.

Newsflash: Rocketplace Kistler Announces Strategic Relationship with Andrews Space


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#25 2006-10-20 01:53:25

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: COTS - status

NASA to buy Suborbital rides

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said his agency would be in the market for quick trips to the edge of space, if the entrepreneurs deliver on their promises to create new passenger services. He drew a parallel between the current prospects for suborbital space travel and the government-supported airmail service that blossomed in the wake of World War I.

"Using the airmail paradigm, NASA will purchase seats on these suborbital flights for experiments and possibly astronaut candidates for mission proficiency, if and when they become available," Griffin said.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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