ATK says it has achieved significant cost savings in a just-completed value-stream mapping exercise at the Promontory, Utah, facility where it builds the multi-segment solid-fuel rocket motors that would drive the Liberty first stage. A more competitive launcher market would be attractive to all users, including the government.
“What we hear from these commercial companies is they believe that there's a market for their spacecraft that's beyond the government's need,” says Gerstenmaier. “They believe there's a commercial sector market for that, so even though one of these companies may provide services only to NASA for their ISS activities, the others may have another market to go to. Then I have the advantage on the government side [of] another contractor that I can go back and pick up to go provide services later for some future activity, if we decided to extend, for example, space station beyond 2020.”