NASA CCDev Update: Three Down, Two to Go

The government has published status updates on NASA’s five Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) 1 grants which were awarded last February. Sierra Nevada Corporation, Blue Origin and Paragon Space Development Corporation have completed their work as planned by the end of the calendar year. The Bigelow/Boeing team and United Launch Alliance have been given extensions through March and April, respectively. NASA awarded a total of $50 million for the first round; it will award about $200 million in additional grants in March.

Individual status reports follow after the break.

Paragon Looks to Extract Water From Brine on Other Worlds

NASA recently announced that it would be conducting contract negotiations for 350 projects under its SBIR and STTR programs, which are aimed at promoting space technology development by small businesses. Parabolic Arc will be looking at a number of the proposals involving NewSpace companies that it regularly covers or which encompass interesting technologies.

This post looks at an SBIR proposal from Paragon Space Development Corporation, a rapidly growing Arizona company whose expertise lies in life-support systems. The project involves extracting water from brine to support human missions to other worlds. A cool idea, but the bigger question is: can it turn the water in wine? That would be really profitable. And miraculous to boot!

Bids in for CCDev 2: Boeing, Orbital Sciences, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada and Virgin Galactic

Boeing's proposed commercial capsule.
Artist's conception of Boeing's commercial crew module. (Credit: Boeing)

Bids were submitted to NASA yesterday for phase 2 of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, the space agency’s effort to field commercial crew launchers and spacecraft to service the International Space Station.  At stake is about $200 million in contracts that will be awarded in March.

According to press releases and media reports, the bids include Boeing’s CST-100 crew transport, SpaceX’s Falcon 9/Dragon system, Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser shuttle, and a new lifting-body vehicle from Orbital Sciences Corporation. Media reports indicate that Virgin Galactic has partnered with both Sierra Nevada and Orbital Sciences in separate bids.


Paragon Completes Milestone in CCDev Life Support Project

Manufacturing of key components of Paragon's Engineering Development Unit.

Inside Tucson Business
reports that Paragon Space Development Corporation had completing manufacturing of its Air Revitalization System Engineering Development Unit (EDU) for NASA. The project is being funded under the space agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

The final step is the completion of  initial EDU integrated ground testing in Paragon’s ECLSS Human-rating Test Facility is scheduled for completion this month.

Paragon’s state-of-the-art ECLSS Human-Rating Facility (EHF) allows component and subsystem testing at flight pressure in a safe and cost effective manner in a laboratory environment. This facility, which predates the CCDev program, is being used for CCDev. (Credit: NASA)

Pictures: Paragon’s Life Support System in Development

Paragon’s state-of-the-art ECLSS Human-Rating Facility (EHF) allows component and subsystem testing at flight pressure in a safe and cost effective manner in a laboratory environment. This facility, which predates the CCDev program, is being used for CCDev. (Credit: NASA)



Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon), a leader in designing and manufacturing spacecraft thermal control and life support systems, is developing the Commercial Crew Transport – Air Revitalization System (CCT-ARS) under its CCDev Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA. Paragon is developing the flight design through its Preliminary Design Review and manufacturing and testing a full-scale Engineering Development Unit (EDU) under the SAA.


CCDev Third Quarter Report: Paragon’s Life Support System

Program: NASA Commercial Crew Development (CCDev)
Paragon Space Development Corporation
Project: Life Support System
Award: $.4 million

Third Quarter Progress Report
(July 1-Sept. 30, 2010)

The Flight Preliminary Design Review (PDR) was completed on schedule with zero SAA Milestone Action Items. Several actions and comments were recorded and will be completed or addressed by dates stated in the meeting minutes.


ISPCS Panel: Bigelow, Paragon, Sierra Nevada and Dynetics

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser - a seven-person space shuttle designed for orbital flight.


“Establishing the Commercial Space Market: Matching Business Strategy with Funding Sources”

Lee Rand — Managing Partner, Sun Mountain Capital
Grant Anderson — VP of Engineering, Paragon Space Development Corporation
Mark Sirangelo — Corporate VP and Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation; Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Tim Pickens — Commercial Space Advisor; Chief Propulsion Engineer, Dynetics
Robert Bigelow — Owner and Founder, Bigelow Aerospace


Arizona Could Benefit From New NASA Plan, But Giffords Still Skeptical

Asteroid Ida

The Tucson Chronicle has an interesting article about how NASA’s new human spaceflight program could bring substantial federal funding to Southern Arizona. This prospect poses an interesting dilemma for Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a critic of the program who chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology’s subcommittee on space and aeronautics.

A human mission to an asteroid “certainly requires homework to be done” in picking safe and useful objects to visit, said Mark Sykes, director and CEO of the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute. “A lot of that work can be done in Arizona,” he said…


NASA’s $50 Million Commercial Crew Investment to Fund Different Approaches

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser - a seven-person space shuttle designed for orbital flight.
Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser - a space shuttle designed for orbital flight and ISS servicing.

The $50 million in contract awards that NASA announced earlier this month will fund a number of approaches to commercial human spaceflight, including a new capsule and a small space shuttle. The space agency also spread out awards between newer, entrepreneurial companies and established aerospace giants.


NASA Awards $50 Million to 5 Companies for Commercial Crew Work


NASA has awarded $50 million through funded agreements to further the commercial sector’s capability to support transport of crew to and from low Earth orbit. This step is the first taken by NASA consistent with the president’s direction to foster commercial human spaceflight capabilities.


Orbital, Paragon Vying for NASA Communication Human Spaceflight Funds


NASA funding may land in Arizona: Orbital, Paragon vying for slice of $50 million

Orbital Sciences Corp. and Paragon Space Development Corp. are vying for a piece of the $50 million in research funding NASA is expected to award businesses this month as part of the initiative.

The companies design and develop space-related technology at facilities in Arizona, and other local technology firms could benefit if either company secures funding.


Paragon SDC Working on Constellation Spacesuit

Paragon has received authorization to begin work on NASA’s Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS). Paragon is beginning this work on the first major space suit redesign in over 40 years as part of a team led by Oceaneering International. Paragon has key responsibilities in the design and manufacture of the suit’s life support and thermal control system. The first suits will support the debut flight of the new Orion spaceship that Paragon is also working on, currently planned to launch in 2015.