Friday, November 6, 2015

NASA Delays Commercial Cargo Decision, Drops Boeing

This illustration shows Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 flying in low-Earth orbit with crew members aboard. An uncrewed version of the spacecraft wasn't selected for the CRS-2 contract. Credits: Boeing

NASA has dropped Boeing from a multibillion-dollar competition to fly cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and will delay selecting one or more winners for about two months, officials said on Thursday. Boeing was offering an unmanned version of its Starliner CST-100 space taxi, under development as part of a separate NASA $4.2 billion program to transport crew to the space station.

"CRS2 (Commercial Resupply Services 2) s a complex procurement. The anticipated award date has been revised to no later than January 30, 2016, to allow time to complete a thorough proposal evaluation and selection. Since the Agency is in the process of evaluating proposals, we are in a procurement communications blackout. For that reason, NASA cannot answer questions about this procurement at this time," NASA statement reads.

NASA previously said it intended to award multiple contracts, each including at least six cargo flights to and from the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

Thursday’s delay was the third postponement in the hard-fought competition, which has already seen a bid by Lockheed Martin Corp excluded, according to industry sources.

Orbital ATK and privately owned SpaceX hold station cargo delivery contracts worth more than $3.5 billion. Both are proposing extensions of their existing technologies, in contrast to the proposals from Boeing, Lockheed and privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp, which proposed entirely new vehicles.


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