that sound, dear friends, is the sad accompaniment to the activity of driving a nail into a coffin.
In this particular instance, the coffin would be that of RpK’s COTS efforts. It appears that NASA has finally determined that RpK was not going to be able to meet the already missed milestones or upcoming ones, and has therefore informed Oklahoma City-based Rocketplane of its decision in a letter from Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Rick Gilbrech.
In the next breath, of course, NASA then went on to mumble something about “A vibrant commercial space industry will help NASA fulfill its promise to support the International Space Station, retire the space shuttle and return humans to the moon.” This from Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office.
Of course they’re going to say that. It’s not like they can ever just come out and fess up on what a colossal SNAFU the entire manned space program is, right? And just what vibrant commercial industry are they referring to, anyway?!?
Meanwhile, NASA says that the unspent money will be re-awarded to other aerospace firms in a new competition.
Here’s a question for those who are excited at the prospect of the money being up for grabs again…. Has anyone noticed a common theme amongst the new space access companies: SpaceX, Blue Origin, Armadillo, Virgin/Scaled, and even Beal (before it went bye bye)?
Here’s a hint: the investors/developers in these NewSpace launch technologies are all gazillionaires or backed by those people. So who does NASA plan to award the remaining $170+ million from RpK’s lost contract? I can’t say for certain, but i’m pretty sure I know who WON’T be getting the money…