Aerospace companies bidding for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) development dollars will be expected to present the agency with a viable spacecraft and rocket combination along with blueprints for a mission control center and ground operations. "We don't want a sales pitch, we don't want an advertisement," said Ed Mango, CCP program manager, during a preproposal conference on Feb. 14. "We want to know how they are technically going to make this happen."
Mango and his team are anticipating a bright next phase of development as the agency prepares to award funding for fully integrated crew transportation systems in the summer of 2012. The awards are expected to lead to activities engineers dream about, such as drop tests, engine test fires, pad abort tests and demonstration flights.
"For the first time, we are asking for the full-up, end-to-end integrated system," said Phil McAlister, NASA's director of Commercial Spaceflight Development.The conference was a follow-on to an agency Announcement for Proposals (AFP) issued Feb. 7 that requested aerospace companies submit their plans for the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative by March 23. The conference was held to explain details of the AFP and answer questions from industry. More than 50 industry partners and stakeholders from 25 companies attended to ask NASA what it would be looking for in terms of milestones, funding, schedules, strategies, safety cultures, business modules and eventual flight certification standards.