GAO Denies Sierra Nevada's CCtCAP Protest – UPDATE

GAO Denies Sierra Nevada's CCtCAP Protest – UPDATE

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today denied Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC’s) protest of NASA’s September award of two Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts to Boeing and SpaceX.

In a statement, GAO said it “found no undue emphasis on NASA’s consideration of each offeror’s proposed schedule, and likelihood to achieve crew transportation system certification not later than 2017. GAO also noted that, contrary to Sierra Nevada’s assertions, the [Request for Proposals] clearly advised offerors that their proposals would be evaluated against the goal of certification by the end of 2017.”

GAO confirmed that SNC alleged in its protest that NASA’s evaluation of the bids was not in accordance with the criteria stated in the solicitation, elevating schedule to a higher priority, but found that not to be accurate.   Nor did GAO agree with other SNC allegations that NASA “conducted an inadequate review of the realism of SpaceX’s  price and overall financial resources, conducted a flawed and disparate evaluation of proposals under the mission suitability evaluation factor, and improperly evaluated the relevance of offeror’s past performance.”

GAO’s statement added that GAO takes no position on the relative merits of the CCtCAP proposals, only whether NASA’s conclusions were reasonable and consistent with the approach laid out in the solicitation.

NASA and SNC both responded to the GAO ruling later in the day.   NASA said simply that it is pleased it may now move forward with the commercial crew program and end its reliance on Russia for ISS crew transportation services.   SNC said the GAO decision was unexpected and it is “evaluating” the decision, but will continue to develop and test Dream Chaser.

Note:  This article was updated with the paragraph about NASA and SNC’s responses to the decision.


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