Allison F. Zuniga, Mark Turner, Daniel Rasky, Robert B. Pittman,
Edgar Zapata, "Kickstarting a New Era of Lunar Industrialization
via Campaigns of Lunar COTS Missions,"
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics Space 2016
Allison F. Zuniga, Daniel Rasky, Robert B. Pittman,
Edgar Zapata, Roger Lepsch, "Lunar
COTS: An Economical and Sustainable Approach to Reaching Mars,"
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics - Space 2015
Conference, August 2015
"Based on the experience of recent NASA program
innovations, such as the COTS program, a human return to the Moon may
not be as expensive as previously thought."
Also see: Charles Miller, "Affording
a Return to the Moon by Leveraging Commercial Partnerships,"
Charles Miller, Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group,
September 30, 2015
"There is a lack of clarity regarding what the
Certifying Official is actually addressing.
Neither view was the intent of the original
certification plan. The intent was a partnership that leveraged the
commercial practices and experience of SpaceX and decades of Air Force
experience to meet the needs of the Air Force for confidence in the
capability and reliability of the SpaceX launch system. In particular,
it was never envisioned that the Air Force would drive changes in
design, processes, and organization to achieve certification. Neither
was it expected the Falcon 9 launch experience would suffice to
provide the needed confidence in Falcon 9 v1.1 for national security
payloads. Instead, it was expected there would be a manageable set of
issues requiring resolution, some requiring resolution at the top
The Balance between the What and How
The daily focus of members of the NECT for the
past decade or so has been intensely on confidence in individual
successful deliveries to orbit. That requires assessment of specific
processes and hardware associated with the specific launch vehicle.
The traditional approach is prescriptive."
"The next era of space exploration will see
governments pushing technological development and the American private
sector using these technologies as they expand their economic activities
to new worlds. NASA's next objectives for exploration--visits to
asteroids and Mars--are more complex than any previous space mission
They will happen in the context of relatively
smaller NASA budgets and an expanding commercial space economy. Teaming
with private sector partners to develop keystone markets like low Earth
orbit (LEO) transportation and technological capabilities like asteroid
mining will help NASA achieve its mission goals, help the space economy
evolve to embrace new ambitions, and provide large economic returns to
the taxpayer through the stimulation and growth of new businesses and
21st century American jobs."
"As NASA develops its deep space exploration
strategy, identification of options for leveraging private investment
and contributing to U.S. economic competitiveness in the process will be
critical to establishing a sustainable path."
"From 2006 to 2013, under the Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services (COTS) program managed by C3PO, NASA acted as
an investor and advisor with three different and distinct companies
in the space transportation industry to promote the development of U.S.
space transportation capabilities on the frontier of human exploration."
"Both the SpaceX and Orbital low- Earth orbit
transportation systems were developed with a total NASA COTS
investment of just $788 million ($500 original funding plus $288
million fiscal year 2011 augmentation)."
"The NASA Air Force Cost Model (NAFCOM) estimate
for the cost to develop the SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle, based on the NASA
environment and culture, ranged from as low as $443 million to as high
as approximately $4 billion. However the final cost for developing and
demonstrating the Falcon 9 rocket was only about $400 million—up to
10 times less than projected."
"In a June 2009 report, the Government
Accountability Office commended C3PO for its responsible use of
government monies. Particularly noted was the very small percentage
of the program’s budget applied to management and overhead."
1991 - SPACEHAB
Reference - "Analysis
of NASA Lease and Purchase Alternatives for the Commercial Middeck
Augmentation Module (pdf)," Price Waterhouse Office of Government
Services, Center for Space and Advanced Technology, Marsh & McLennon,
"Thus, the lease cost [commercial SpaceHab] is 16%
of the purchase cost [traditional contracting]"
Eric Burgess, Dan Barkmeyer, "Estimating
Commercial-Like Satellite Programs", 42nd Annual DoD Cost
Analysis Symposium, February 2009
Acquisition complexity: Can be computed
Helps explain cost differences among commercial
and commercial-like programs
Is being used for NRO estimates"
Wilmer Alvarado, Daniel Barkmeyer, Erik Burgess, "Commercial-Like
Acquisitions: Practices and Costs," Journal of Cost Analysis and
Parametrics, 3:1, 41-58, 2010
"Although some of these drivers are symptoms of a
technically complex system, they should also serve as a guide to
program managers to indicate when a commercial-like acquisition may be
appropriate and how to tailor their acquisition program to reduce
"With more countries and private companies
expanding their activities in space, the US government must reshape its
space agencies and policies. Cooperation and catalysis will be key.
Choosing when and how to leverage outside players
is not a trivial matter, and each agency involved in such
experimentation would need to establish an overarching rationale for
any outsourcing or partnering. Government agencies could, for example,
with certain exceptions for strategic reasons, identify external
capabilities to do what is more efficient to do outside, such as to
launch crew and cargo into low-Earth orbit. They could also use
outside capabilities to do what is difficult to do in-house, such as
employing a private firm to use a high-risk modular architecture for a
journey to Mars. It goes without saying that both would be difficult
shifts at agencies with a strong culture of resisting ideas “not
As government agencies take on the role of
catalysts and leverage outside skills, it is possible that many
in-house skills would become redundant when superior skills are found
outside, whereas others would become more desirable. Many agencies
would need to evolve from being technology-driven to
acquisition-driven, becoming entities in which the skill set required
is that of scouting for talent and ideas rather than doing the work.
This would make them similar to various other mission agencies, such
as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National
Institutes of Health. As a result, many of the agencies would need to
evaluate how to best reorganize their structures to fit with their new
"The lower degree of political interference (Boycko
et al., 1996), risk transfers and the more up-to-date technical and
management knowledge of private actors dealing with a global contract
bundling investments and service provision (Hart, 2003) are widely
viewed as the three main drivers of improvements in efficiency that
PPP can contribute to the delivery of public services. But research
also shows that the reality is a lot more subtle and the efficiency
outcome of PPPs should be expected to be less predictable than often
"The Federal Highway Administration of the US
Department of Transportation, which has a long experience in PPPs,
defines 6 different types of PPPs: Design Bid Build, Private Contract
Fee Services, Design Build, Build Operate Transfer (BOT), Long Term
Lease Agreements, Design Build Finance Operate (DBFO), and Build Own
Operate (BOO). We remark that the American experience with PPPs is
wider than the European one, and consequently the US interpretation is
broader “and covers a variety of instruments through which government
involves business and not for- profits in the realization of public
Contact: Edgar Zapata, NASA Kennedy Space Center