Florida Today wrote:Private space firms question if NASA contracting policies will allow progress
CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA's plan to fly astronauts on commercial spacecraft promised a dramatic new way of doing business that could save money and spur a new market for human spaceflight.
But some commercial space advocates aren't convinced a "non-traditional" contracting strategy proposed by the agency goes far enough to achieve those goals.
Contracts governed by the voluminous Federal Acquisition Regulations, they say, will divert limited resources from work on spacecraft by requiring the companies to hire armies of lawyers and accountants to track compliance with complex regulations.
And unlike a more streamlined alternative, NASA would call the shots on critical design decisions, potentially limiting the innovation needed to reduce costs and attract customers beyond NASA.
"If you take a traditional approach, you're going to get the traditional result, which is broken budgets and no flight hardware," said Mike Gold, director of Washington, D.C., operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace.
After two rounds of seed funding kicked off the "commercial crew" project, a Kennedy Space Center-led team is finalizing NASA's strategy for completing, testing and certifying systems safe for its astronauts.