An update on the status of NASA manned commercial competition


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Jason Davis at the Planetary Society blog has put together an excellent summary of the status for all three companies competing for NASA’s contract to ferry astronauts to and from ISS.

Key paragraph:

From a quantitative standpoint, Boeing is the leader. Since the first quarter of 2013, the company has been ahead in percentage of milestones completed and percentage of funding awarded. Plus, there’s the simple fact that they’ve finished all of their milestones, while SpaceX and Sierra Nevada asked for extensions. But from a qualitative standpoint, things are less straightforward. SpaceX has already proven they can fly missions to the ISS. And they’re the only CCiCap participant with a pad abort test and an in-flight abort test among their milestones.

It is very clear just looking at the actual milestones that what Boeing has done so far is not that impressive. Almost everything on their list is a paperwork review, not construction or testing of actual hardware. Meanwhile, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada are building and testing spacecraft. That they have not yet completed their milestones is hardly a big deal in this context.

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