Tuesday, April 26, 2005

NASA moves on CEV - and NSPD-40 ???

Exploration division of NASA had an RFP for a Systems Integration Contractor. This has been pulled, and is apparently to be moved in-house.
Interesting part is the rumour that the CEV procurement RFP is to be pulled after the design review, and replaced with a call for a single source contractor with an accelerated schedule and double the budget!
Intent is obviously to avoid the "gap years" where Shuttle is shut down, and CEV not up.

With what money? Return-to-Flight is way over budget and sucking up all funding in NASA. Where is the budget for an accelerated CEV development to come from? (Any guesses? I think space science can duck for cover now, and the Earth observation people can kiss their butt and bucks goodbye). Ouch.
I am also very uneasy about CEV going to a single contractor with an accelerated schedule at this stage. This is a recipe for a dead-end PowerPoint spacecraft. Although I suppose they could be figuring that by the time it flies there will be Only One aerospace contractor left to deal with (L-Mart-Boing? Boei-L-Mart? Bo-L-Mart?).

I haven't felt like this since last time I was in a dentist chair and heard the high speed whizz of a watercooled drill power up;
it is the anticipation that hurts.

So, here is the other Very Interesting data point. The amended solicitation refers National Security Presidential Directive-40 (NSPD-40).
Eh wot?

There's been a rumour that a big part of the reason for NASA's sudden hustle, starting last year, was that the directive came down not as a plain executive order, but a Presidential security directive. Those are not generally published. The title is US Space Transportation Directive, and it is not the Secure Ports directive, or NSC-40, or DOD-40 as near as I can make out.
Be interesting to know what it says. Might help people understand what and why things are happening.


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