NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Home Welcome to the KSC Next Gen Site

It's about routine, affordable, and safe operations to, from and in space...

Website Curator: Edgar Zapata, NASA KSC

The NASA Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station - a Multi-user Spaceport



The Evolving Landscape of 21st Century American Spaceflight (.pdf)

2014 The Evolving Landscape of 21st Century American Spaceflight



2013/14 Public-Private Partnerships for Space Capability Development [Report .pdf] [Presentation .pdf]

2013-2014 Public-Private Partnerships for Space Capability Development [Report] [Presentation]



2009 Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee Report

2009 Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee Report



1994 Commercial Space Transportation Study - Full Text, searchable .pdf, 661 Pages, 42MB (or shorter Executive Summary)

1994 Commercial Space Transportation Study (661 pages, searchable pdf, 42MB, or shorter Executive Summary)



Within Reach, Within Us (video)

Within Reach, Within Us (video)



Past Programs



NASA Kennedy Space Center


How can we achieve routine, affordable, and safe operations to, from and in space?


The goal of our work here is to assist in answering this question.


Enabling future space systems growth requires improving multiple elements. This includes the vehicles, space systems, spaceport, organizations and their processes. It requires all of these be optimized, together. Customers, developers, designers, manufacturers and operators working from a whole systems perspective, building on the lessons of the past - that is our emphasis in the next generation of space systems designs.


September 13, 2016

[Paper] [Presentation] 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, 2016


July 22, 2016

M. Elvis,  "What can Space Resources do for Astronomy and Planetary Science?", Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 2016.

Though not on space transportation per se, this papers observations on the unsustainable difference between project cost inflation vs. increases in project budgets applies just as well. Reduced launch cost and approaches for cheaper spacecraft, including commercial paths, are presented.


"But we are in trouble. Our telescopes have grown in expense far faster than the economies they depend on. “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop” as Herbert Stein’s Law states in economics."


"But the price was high. Figure 3 shows how the (inflation-corrected) cost of these missions increased by a factor of about 20 over 30 years. This is an exponential growth rate of 10% per year. The same plot for other wavelength bands would be much the same. Ian Crawford has shown that Mars landers have grown even faster, at about 15% per year. Historical growth rates for the US GDP have been fairly steady at about 2% a year for the past century and more (1871–2001). Clearly, growth rates for astronomy that are four times faster than that of the economy are unsustainable."

December 15, 2015

Edgar Zapata, "Emerging US Space Launch Trends and Space Solar Power," IEEE International Conference on Wireless for Space and Extreme Environments, 2015


August 31, 2015

[Paper] [Presentation] 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, 2015


July 29, 2015

Brand Griffin, Roger Lepsch, John Martin, Edgar Zapata, Carey McCleskey, et al,  "Evolvable Mars Campaign Small Habitat Commonality Reduces Cost and Improves Operations," Future In-Space Operations Working Group, 2015


July 27, 2015

[Paper] [Presentation] Edgar Zapata, Alan Wilhite, "Exploring NASA Human Spaceflight and Pioneering Scenarios," 51st AIAA / SAE / ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, 2015


July 22, 2015

Charles Miller, Alan Wilhite, David Cheuvront, Robert Kelso, Howard McCurdy, Edgar Zapata, "Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public-Private-Partnerships," NexGen Space LLC under a grant from NASA, 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."

April 23, 2015

"The Report of the Independent Review Committee on SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Certification," Institute for Defense Analysis, Larry D. Welch, General, USAF (Ret.), 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 level."


"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."


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