NASA IG Cautions on Commercial Crew Challenges

NASA IG Cautions on Commercial Crew Challenges

Just one day after NASA issued a newsletter trumpeting the success of its Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev2) effort, NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a cautionary report about the challenges NASA faces in the commercial crew arena.

Crediting NASA with making “sustained progress” on commercial crew over the past two years, the OIG said that the agency faces “multiple challenges and risks as it expands its Commercial Crew Transportation program.” The OIG identified the following challenges and risks:

  • Modifying NASA’s existing safety and human-rating requirements for commercially developed systems
  • Selecting an acquisition strategy for commercial crew transportation services
  • Establishing the appropriate insight/oversight model for commercial partner vehicle development
  • Relying on an emerging industry and uncertain market conditions to achieve cost savings, and
  • Managing the relationship among commercial partners, the FAA, and NASA

The report does not make specific recommendations to NASA for corrective actions, but advises the agency to pay attention to the challenges it highlights. According to the report, the NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems concurred and assured the OIG that no decision has yet been made on an acquisition strategy for this program.

In the newsletter released yesterday, NASA reviewed the milesones that have been met by the four companies that received CCDev2 awards — Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, and SpaceX.

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