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The rumors are swirling. Today alone the news included three different articles about NASA’s upcoming decision to down-select to either one or two in its manned commercial crew program.
- Is this the space vehicle that will be NASA’s alternative to Russia’s ‘taxi service’ to orbit?
- First Class or Economy?—NASA’s countdown in the new space race [subscription required]
- Decision on commercial crew program likely to be made after Labor Day weekend
The third article above speculates that the decision will be made shortly after this weekend, maybe as soon as next week. It also outlines in nice detail the companies who are competing for the contract.
I strongly expect NASA to pick two companies, not one, as the agency has repeatedly said it wants to have redundancy and competition in manned space flight. To this I agree whole-heartedly. Right now, if I was a betting man (which I am not), I would pick SpaceX and Sierra Nevada as the two companies to get the nod.
If NASA only picks one company that I don’t think there is much doubt that it will be SpaceX.
And then again, government agencies, because of politics, have sometimes made some incredibly stupid decisions. For example, back in the 1970s the company that proposed the space shuttle was rejected for another big space company that had more political clout, which then turned around and essentially stole the first company’s designs to build the space shuttle from them. It just took longer and cost more.