[FPSPACE] Speaking of Atlas V

David Portree dsfportree at hotmail.com
Sat Sep 20 21:08:05 EDT 2014

Are you reading what I write? I ignored what you wrote about historic Boeing cost overruns for the simple reason that those are not allowed to occur in the commercial crew contract. They are not relevant to this situation. Hence, they seem to be Boeing bashing, not anything connected with what I wrote. 
Boeing met its milestones and came in with what is probably a realistic bid for the next phase. It's more than SpaceX bid, but then Boeing has been in the business longer so presumably has a better idea about how to estimate what it needs to deliver what it has promised. SpaceX completed 70% of its milestones, bid about half as much as Boeing for the next phase, and, being newbies, have a much greater need to prove that their bid is realistic. 
According to the SpaceX fans, cost is a (maybe *the*) driving force in commercial crew. They like to argue that SpaceX is much cheaper than the Russians. The OIG has found that commercial crew has been more costly than the Russians (something I've noted on many occasions, to howls of derisions) and does not expect the general upward trend in space transportation costs to change over the next decade. SpaceX fans might seek to explain this is several disingenuous ways - for example, that the NASA OIG is out to get SpaceX. I've had many rabid SpaceX fans tell me that NASA, the USAF, and the established contractors - ULA, for example - are out to get SpaceX because it threatens their cozy world. 
Now you are telling me that cost doesn't matter, and misquoting me when you say I said cost doesn't matter - that it's all about having a home-grown space station ferry capability. That's another disingenuous way of responding to what I write, I guess.

David S. F. Portree
author and stuff
dsfportree at hotmail.com
dportree at usgs.gov

> Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:37:03 -0400
> From: clj at panix.com
> To: fpspace at friends-partners.org
> Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Speaking of Atlas V
> On 9/20/2014 12:45 PM, David Portree wrote:
> > Chris:
> >
> > Apologies if I wasn't clear - you've entirely missed my point.
> >
> > Boeing has, by virtue of decades of experience, a realistic sense of
> > what it takes to build, test, and operate a piloted spacecraft. So,
> > the bid they have to live up to is probably closer to reality than
> > the one SpaceX has to live up to.
> I think you've missed my point, both in this response and your next,
> where you said I totally ignored what you said and simply Boeing-bashed.
> I was responding to your implied conclusion that Boeing's long
> experience means that they make realistic bids, by providing
> counter-examples.  That's not missing the point or ignoring your argument.
> > Did you see that the NASA OIG says commercial space will be more
> > costly than relying on the Russians and that NASA hasn't budgeted for
> > it? It's part of the report on extending ISS use to 2024. There's no
> > question that we need a home-grown station ferry capability, but the
> > old saw that "commercial" space is bound to be cheaper due to magic
> > (or something) is coming under assault even from NASA's internal
> > watchdog. I guess that they are part of the anti-SpaceX conspiracy.
> Now this I would arguing with a straw man.  As you say, the driving
> force behind this contract is not cost, but the desire for a US
> capability to launch crews into orbit.  Saying that NASA's cost
> estimates are optimistic doesn't sound like an attack on SpaceX to me.
> Why don't you consider it equally (or, given the contract sizes, more)
> an anti-Boeing conspiracy?
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