Commercial Spaceflight Federation Welcomes Continued Strong Support for Commercial Crew in NASA Budget

Commercial Crew Will Help Close the Nation’s Gap in Human Space Launch Capability, Reducing Reliance on Russia and Creating New Jobs for Americans

Washington, D.C: Today, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomed the strong continued support for commercial spaceflight in the new NASA FY2013 budget.

Congress and the Administration have consistently identified commercial providers as the most cost-effective and reliable source for routine flights to low-Earth orbit, including transportation of cargo and NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. As recognized by a wide range of industry executives, scientists, and former NASA astronauts, among others, the Commercial Crew program is the quickest path to return Americans to orbit on American rockets.

Federation Chairman Eric Anderson said, “By partnering with private companies, NASA can regain U.S. access to space, while the agency continues to lead the world in exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. With a focused mission, NASA will be able to cover more ground with its limited funding, and get services to low-Earth orbit safely and cost-effectively.”

The second round of the Commercial Crew program was awarded in April 2011, and four funded and several unfunded Space Act Agreements are underway. All awardees have been building hardware and hitting milestones regularly, and last week, NASA called for proposals for the next round of competition, which is planned to take awardees all the way to first vehicle flight. Because these are competitively-awarded, fixed-price, milestone-based partnerships, NASA only pays for capabilities once they are demonstrated.

The Commercial Crew program will enable American providers to free us from dependence on the Russian Soyuz for access to the International Space Station, a facility that American taxpayers have invested nearly $100 billion to build. NASA currently pays Russia more than $60 million per seat to access the Space Station, a price that is expected to rise above $70 million in the next few years.

Executive Director Alex Saltman stated, “With the Shuttle fleet retiring last year, Americans look forward to the day when we return our astronauts to space on American rockets. We are pleased that the Administration is requesting the funding necessary to make that happen.  Now it’s Congress’s job to help put America back in space.”

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The CSF’s member companies – which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers and service providers – are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director Alex Saltman at saltman@commercialspaceflight.org or at 202.349.1121.

# # #

Categories: Commercial Crew, NASA, Press Releases