CSF on NASA Space Act Decision: We Like It!

CSF PR – Washington, DC  – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates NASA on the space agency’s important decision, announced today, to continue to use Space Act Agreements for the Commercial Crew Development Program. This decision will shorten the gap in U.S. access to space, help spur additional private investment, reduce America’s dependence on Russia, save taxpayer money, ensure the future of the International Space Station, and increase industry competition. Now that the Space Shuttle has retired, the Commercial Crew Program is the fastest way for America to regain our domestic access to space.

“Space Act Agreements are a proven way to get rapid, cost-effective results and will help ensure that the Commercial Crew Program is a success,” said CSF Executive Director Alex Saltman. “Space Act Agreements were used in the previous rounds of the Commercial Crew program, as well as the COTS Cargo Program. A NASA cost study has shown that the COTS Cargo development program, using Space Act Agreements, has been successful for a fraction of what a traditionally run program would have cost.”

“Competition is the key to the Commercial Crew Program, and we are pleased to see that NASA is continuing to promote competition, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office in a report released today.”

“This decision maximizes NASA’s bang-for-the-buck and brings America one big step closer to replacing the Space Shuttle with safe, reliable, and affordable commercial transportation to low-Earth orbit. The commercial crew program is an exciting partnership between commercial companies and NASA to combine innovative ideas and new investment from the private sector with NASA’s deep experience in human spaceflight.”

Today’s decision by NASA to continue using Space Act Agreements is supported by the results of previous programs. All recent NASA and Air Force launch vehicle development programs that have resulted in flights to orbit have used similar milestone-based agreements, rather than traditional contracts, for system development.

In June 2011, the CSF released a public white paper titled, “Commercial Spaceflight Federation Supports Use of Space Act Agreements (SAAs) for Next Phase of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program,” stating, “SAAs are the best means for NASA to support commercial development of systems to transport crew and cargo to the Space Station.”