Space Access 12: FAA AST Chief Engineer Mike Kelly

Michael Kelly
Chief Engineer, Office of Commercial Spaceflight
Federal Aviation Administration
“Commercial Human Spaceflight: The Coming Safety Challenge

Changes at FAA

  • AST split in several offices, including chief engineer’s offic
  • Former astronaut Pamela Ann Melroy has been added as senior adviser for human spaceflight — flew on STS-92, 112 and 120 — previously serve as Deputy Program Manager for Space Exploration Initiatives at Lockheed Martin after leaving the astronaut corps
  • reorganizing field offices
  • adding a second position at Mojave, new positions at Wallops and JSC
  • Planned tech center with 50 people at KSC will not happen
  • Moritorium on regulations has been expanded to Oct. 1, 2015 — although FAA can propose rules if there is an accident


NASA to Continue Using Space Act Agreements for Commercial Crew

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA announced today a modified competitive procurement strategy to keep on track the agency’s plan to have U.S. companies transport American astronauts into space instead of outsourcing this work to foreign governments.

Instead of awarding contracts for the next phase of the Commercial Crew Program, the agency plans to use multiple, competitively awarded Space Act Agreements. Using competitive Space Act Agreements instead of contracts will allow NASA to maintain a larger number of partners during this phase of the program, with the flexibility to adjust technical direction, milestones and funding.

Exclusive Video: Robert Bigelow Talks Space and More — Part III

Above is the third part of an interview that Robert Bigelow gave to reporters during the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, NM. Bigelow had just given an address to the conference in which he warned that China could claim the moon in the early 2020s and urged American leaders to renew their commitment to leadership in space.

If you missed any of it, Parts I and II are below.

Ukraine Looks to Commercial Partnerships to Boost Space Program

Ukraine's Cyclone rocket

The National Space Agency of Ukraine is looking to foster the “development of public-private partnership [and the] deepening the commercialization of space activities and international cooperation” as part of a series of changes to the nation’s space policy.

“For the first time to finance the program is envisaged to raise funds from other sources in amounts that make up about a third of the necessary funding and the development and implementation of public-private partnership,” according to a press released posted on the space agency’s website.


CSF Says: Space Act Agreements are Rad!

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Position Statement:

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Supports Use of Space Act Agreements (SAAs) for Next Phase of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program

For the next phase of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program, following CCDev Rounds 1 and 2, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation strongly supports the use of Space Act Agreements (SAAs) under NASA’s Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) authority, rather than a Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)-based approach. SAA’s are the best means for NASA to support commercial development of systems to transport crew and cargo to the Space Station.


Boeing Completes Delta System Review on CST-100

Boeing's CST-100 crew transport. (Credit: Boeing)

Commercial crew system on track for operational capability in 2015

BOEING PR — HOUSTON, June 13, 2011 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] on May 19 completed the Delta System Definition Review (SDR) of the company’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 space capsule design. The milestone follows NASA’s award of a Commercial Crew Development Phase 2 (CCDev2) contract to Boeing in April.

The daylong review included representatives from NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and independent consultants. They examined the changes made to the CST-100 design since the initial SDR, which was conducted in October under the original CCDev agreement. (more…)

NASA Study Examines Commercial Space Market

A Boeing CST-100 crew module docks at a Bigelow Aerospace space station. (Credit: Boeing)

NASA recently released its Commercial Market Assessment for Crew and Cargo Systems. The report looks at high and low end estimates for the next decade based upon an extrapolation of existing flight rates and industry input. The assessment concludes:

NASA believes that the projections described in this report are more than sufficient to justify Government support for the development and demonstration of commercial cargo and crew systems, especially considering that the U.S. Government has a demonstrated need for commercial cargo and crew transportation to/from the ISS. According to one established aerospace company involved in NASA’s commercial crew efforts, this base Government market alone is sufficient to close its business case. The commercial markets assessed in this report provide a potential upside further strengthening the potential for success. NASA also believes its approach to cargo and crew system development will be more cost effective than a more traditional approach to space system development.

Key excerpts from the report are reproduced after the break.


House Hearing Spotlights Concerns About NASA Commercial Cargo Program

The House held a hearing on NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program last week. The majority Republicans and minority Democrats both expressed concerns about the schedule and reliability of cargo delivery to the International Space Station by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation set to begin within the next year. Republicans seem a bit more skeptical about the effort, however, questioning market viability and other issues.

Press releases from both parties describing the hearing and their concerns follow after the break.


NASA to Clarify Regulations on Entering into Anchor Tenancy Agreements

In a potential boost for commercial space, NASA is proposing changing its federal acquisition regulations to allow it to enter multi-year anchor tenancy contracts for commercial space goods and services.

The notice in the Federal Register states:

Anchor Tenancy is defined as “an arrangement in which the United States Government agrees to procure sufficient quantities of a commercial space product or service needed to meet Government mission requirements so that a commercial venture is made viable.” (more…)

ISU to Study Placing Transponders on Commercial Space Vehicles

The FAA and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) are in discussions with the International Space University (ISU) on conducting a study on the need for beacons or transponders on commercial space vehicles, officials revealed this week.

The study is likely to be conducted as a Team Project during the 2012 Space Studies Summer Program, which is being co-housed by the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Approximately 40 students from about 20 countries cight participate in the project.


Big US-Euro Divide on Commercial Spaceflight Regulations

The United States and Europe are taking very different approaches to regulating the emerging commercial human spaceflight industry, a divergence that could cause headaches for spacecraft operators forced to operate in very different regulatory environments.

The European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) plans to certify winged vehicles that will fly into space under its authority to regulate aircraft.The FAA is taking a less strict approach of licensing vehicle launches without a costly certification process.


EU Space Conduct Code Faces Push Back From Commercial Sector

The commercial spaceflight industry is seeking input into a European Union code of conduct for space that the Obama Administration is considering adopting due to concerns that it could negatively impact the emerging sector.

In a presentation to the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) this week, Debra Facktor Lepore of the committee’s Space Transportation Operations Working Group said that a “broader global dialogue” involving government and industry is required before the United States and other nations adopt the EU’s Code of Conduct for Space Activities.


DoD Seeks Authority to Directly Support Commercial Space Sector

The DoD is proposing legal changes that would allow public/private partnerships to improve and expand its space capabilities and allow the military to directly support the commercial space sector as part of its mission.

Current law “limits DoD to accepting reimbursement from commercial space companies for excess capacity in the form of launch property, facilities, or direct support services,” according to a presentation made to the FAA yesterday. “DoD is not allowed to accept non-DoD funding to enable or improve operation of commercial space launch capabilities, augmentation of DoD capabilities for commercial purposes, or adding commercial requirements to DoD contracts to extend/expand services in support of commercial Space launch activities.”


Commercial Space: Are the Doubting Thomases Right?

Artist's conception of Obital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket set for launch at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

This week in The Space Review….

Commercial space skepticism
Commercial space ventures appear to be moving forward on all fronts, with developments ranging from commercial crew funding to the testing of suborbital vehicles. However, Jeff Foust notes that some both in industry and Congress are skeptical of the long-term success of these efforts, in part because of past experience.

Public-private partnerships for space
What is the future for space exploration in an era of fiscal constraints and competing priorities? Lou Friedman argues that there is an increasing role for public-private partnerships to advance space exploration initiatives more cost effectively.

India and space security
In recent years India’s space program has evolved from one almost solely dedicated to serving national needs to one with a more nationalistic, even militarized bent. Victoria Samson summarizes the takeaways from a recent conference that examined India’s shifting attitudes towards space and their impact on space security.

Iraqi bird: Beyond Saddam’s space program
In addition to trying to develop a launch vehicle, Iraq also worked on an its own satellite during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Dwayne Day describes that satellite effort and the country’s future satellite plans.

Review: Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) suffered a recent funding setback, but work continues to try and find evidence of other civilizations in the universe. Jeff Foust reviews a book that looks at the current state of SETI and the potential to not just listen but also transmit.