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Monday, June 26, 2006

NASA and Commercial Space Growth

NASA is having a $500M competition for private companies to develop a "rent-a-shuttle". "I consider it to be a big gamble," Griffin told a U.S. Senate committee recently. "It is well past time for NASA to do everything it can to stimulate commercial space transportation ... and I'm trying to do that." NASA is hoping to find a possible bridge between the grounding of the shuttle no later than 2010 and the CEV in 2014. It would also give the private sector a chance to launch scientific and commercial payload without relaying on NASA. Of the 24 entries, 6 were chosen as finalists. "Some of the best, most innovative ideas came from the lesser known names in the aerospace industry," said James Bailey, a NASA contracting officer. "This is a program whose time has come," said Kimberly Campbell, a vice president at Spacehab, a Webster, Texas-based aerospace company. "Prices with competition will generally be driven down, but the ease of doing business with the government will get better ... What you'll get is better efficiency." "Traditionally, Uncle Sam has done this many times before," said Bob van der Linden, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. "Prove it can be done, help business get involved and when business can make money, you step back and everybody benefits." The winner will be announced later this summer.

(More info: Northwest Florida Daily News)

- posted by Jim @ 20:42 EST