Saturday, February 2, 2008

Handicapping COTS

This week the theater on E street will once again light up to introduce a new cast of characters gathered to accept a pittance from the Emperor in exchange for dancing proudly for him in public. Or will they be that new after all?

COTS 2.0 ostensibly will be announced this week. Let's review the bidding.

Spacehab is hanging by one hand at graveside. Orbital has a plan for "yet another rocket" while SpaceX is already supposed to be far down the road on their new one. PlanetSpace has brought ATK and LM into the fold for credibiliy, has cash, and begins to look like the "most likely to succeed"company in the 2008 yearbook. And then, there is Boeing.

Boeing! Not Andrews? That's right.

So Boeing, with its deep pockets, understanding of the problem, and most trusted vendor of Viceroy Gerst is standing at the threshold of filling "the gap." If the stigma of being a big guy playing in the little guy's pond can be overcome, Boeing will provide the country with a viable solution to fill this extremely strategic need. And COTS will be exposed for the sham that it is.

And the demise of Orion/Ares won't be far behind.


kT said...

I don't quite understand what you are implying about Boeing and Andrews, but it will be interesting to find out just what is happening behind the scenes. Are you implying Boeing is backing the Andrews Space proposal? Did Boeing file their own proposal? Or is NASA just planning on putting the Orion on the Delta IV Heavy and to hell with it, something they should have done from the start. In that case, what are they planning on doing with the upper stages, dumping them into the ocean after they've delivered them to orbit? Why not just fly the Delta IV Medium to the ISS with a much smaller capsule and call it a day? Three capsules for the price of one. So many possibilities, so little time and money, now that its all been wasted beyond salvaging.

Rocket Man said...

Andrews was not one of the finalists as reported in the media. Boeing is the 4th finalist for COTS 2.0.

kT said...

The only report in the media I am aware of is a single article relaying second hand rumors :

This article lists Andrews. I was just wondering if due to their proximity to Boeing, and the fact that one of their managers has intimate ties to Boeing, perhaps Boeing was a collaborator in the project. Maybe you would be willing to shed some more light on your thinking about this, because I haven't heard anything about a Boeing proposal, although I would have expected that they submitted.

I've heard various rumors of eight and up to 14 submissions for COTS.

All I got was an email saying they were finished with 'due diligence'.

test said...

There hasn't been an official announcement stating that there are only 4 finalists.

kT said...

That was my understanding as well, just by searching the news archives.

The number of submissions is even debatable. We know of only nine for sure, but since Orbital Science's submission was under the radar until just recently, and there are rumors of up to 14, then others could have slipped in under the radar as well, including the obvious crackpot submissions, such as my own (just kidding, I'm as serious as they get). The Boeing reference could just be a simple mistake, but I know they are watching the process with keen interest anyways. If Boeing doesn't step up to the plate soon, the losers will be American taxpayers.

Cecil said...

Boeing? Remind me, why would the American taxpayers be worst off if Boeing is not involved? The idea behind COTS is to have an "affordable" space transportion system. Thats "affordable", thats not Boeing!

kT said...

High ticket prices are generally the result of higher fuel prices, and not the rising price of airline aircraft.

Actually, all of the high end EELV systems are about on par with each other in terms of overall costs.

Now, tell us again how many stock Delta IV Mediums at volume rates we could have bought and flown over the last 4 years of VSE and ESAS?

Remember too now, that for every Delta IV flight to low Earth orbit, you also get a complete high end upper stage, along with a complete and brand new Pratt & Whitney RL-10 high performance cryogenic engine along with the deal.

Right about now, that sounds great.

Rocket Man said...

It's no mistake. Boeing submitted a proposal and later this week you'll see the outcome. Can't make it any plainer than that.

kT said...

Thanks! Whatever you do, don't blow your cover. We'll be waiting patiently for your insights.