AdminCadet: According to recent stories on the web, Senator Shelby (R-Al) has apparently slipped a provision into the NASA appropriations bill that could adversely affect commercial crew companies from delivering their vehicles for crew transport in a timely manner. It requires commercial crew programs to submit “certified cost and pricing data” similar to what is required for NASA contracts. Currently commercial crew providers operate under “Space Act Agreements” to allow flexibility to keep costs down, which also limits traditional insight. Considering crew transport to the International Space Station is currently at the mercy of the Russians with the early termination of the Shuttle Program, it would seem this provision is not timely. Senator Shelby is quite proficient in pushing his state’s interests and the interests of Marshall Space Flight Center (who is developing the new SLS launch vehicle). It is hoped that protection of these interests is not the reason for the senator’s new proposal.
In my opinion, we should not put roadblocks in the way of these emerging resources.