NASA Holds Pre-Solicitation Conference on Commercial Crew

Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango speaks to aerospace industry representatives at the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Pre-Proposal Conference on Aug. 1. (Credit:  NASA/Jim Grossmann)
Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango speaks to aerospace industry representatives at the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Pre-Proposal Conference on Aug. 1. (Credit:
NASA/Jim Grossmann)

Rebecca Regan
John F. Kennedy Space Center

“No one person, no one company, no one government agency, has a monopoly on the competence, the missions, or the requirements for the space program.”
– Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States

Since its inception, the procurement strategy of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has been based on reaching common ground with industry partners as they work together to establish safe and cost-effective American crew launch capabilities to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

“The success of this program is directly related to the success of our industry partners,” said CCP Manager Ed Mango. “While our program priorities have not changed, it’s important that we have this open dialogue now and set expectations together so that NASA can have the highest quality crew transportation system come 2017.”

As the program prepares to enter its final phase of NASA certification efforts, agency officials met with company representatives who are interested in competing for a contract during this next Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) phase. Held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 1, the Pre-Solicitation Conference was meant to keep the line of communication flowing and ensure the official Request for Proposals (RFP) is right on target when released this fall.

“The CCtCap will be a full and open competition and all offerors will be evaluated equally based on the criteria outlined in the official RFP that will be released this fall,” said Maria Collura, CCP certification manager.

Beginning in summer of 2014, when awards are anticipated for one or more contractors, CCtCap efforts will be focused on developing, verifying and validating an integrated system that is safe for crew transportation. A CCtCap contractor also will plan, manage and execute long-term production and operational plans for its crew transportation system (CTS).

“We’re encouraging competition, which allows industry to provide the safest system, in a cost-effective manner, while pushing technology development and innovation,” Mango said. “Down selecting to a single provider could limit these benefits.”

The certification portion of CCtCap will include a contractor completing at least one crewed flight test to the International Space Station. NASA plans to award at least two and up to six additional post-certification missions during the CCtCap period of performance prior to a follow-on space station services contract.

“This next phase brings us closer to accomplishing our dual strategies at NASA,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA Commercial Spaceflight Development at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “To launch our astronauts from U.S. soil and continue critical research aboard the International Space Station, while venturing deeper into space than ever before.”

The CCtCap draft RFP is a culmination of efforts from experts across the agency, including procurement specialists, program representatives, engineers, technicians, safety, health and medical, spacecraft, expendable launch vehicle experts and NASA’s Flight Crew Office.

Questions and answers from the Aug. 1 Pre-Proposal Conference can be found as they are posted on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS) website at:

https://prod.nais.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/eps/synopsis.cgi?acqid=157250

For more information about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew