NASA to Give $80 Million to Commercial Human Spaceflight

Artists conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit
Artists conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit

COTS D – Commercial Human Spaceflight to get at least $80m
Orlando Sentinel

Under an agreement hammered out with the White House, NASA announced today on Capitol Hill that it will provide the COTS program with $150 million of the $400 million for human exploration given to NASA under President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.

According to industry insiders, about $80 million of the $150 million is specifically for a “crewed launch demo.” The rest was broken down into $42 million for a docking system to the international space station, $20 million for a cargo transportation demo and $8 million for miscellaneous aspects of the COTS program, including human rating. The remaining $250 million of the stimulus money for human exploration will go to the Constellation program.

While acting NASA administrator Chris Scolese told Congress today that the $80 million for a “crewed launch demo” is not technically COTS D — the human transportation part of the COTS program — COTS D advocates are hailing it as a victory.

“It’s a start,” said one Washington space consultant. Another industry insider pushing for the program said while $80 million is a far cry from what’s needed, “I consider getting COTS-D started a major victory.”

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