January 27, 2014
The commercial crew funding level NASA received for the remainder of this fiscal year likely will force agency managers to drop their goal of supporting more than one space taxi to lift astronauts to the International Space Station at competitive prices. It also may lengthen the time it takes to get U.S.-launched crews off the ground.
As the private sector advances in the push to replace the space shuttle for U.S. access to low Earth orbit (LEO), the rules—and the potential rewards—are changing. To help ensure crew safety, NASA is shifting to a more rigorous contracting approach than the Space Act agreements used in vehicle development.