GAO Upholding NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract Award
 
  
 
 
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GAO Upholding NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract Award
 
 

January 7, 2015 - Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been advised that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has denied the company’s protest challenging the outcome of NASA’s  Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract award.

On Sept. 16, NASA announced U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS) from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

On Sept. 26, Sierra Nevada Corporation filed a protest of the commercial crew contracts with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Pursuant to the GAO protest, NASA instructed Boeing and SpaceX to suspend performance of the contracts.

 

On Oct. 9, under statutory authority available to it, NASA decided to proceed with the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded to The Boeing Company and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. notwithstanding the bid protest filed at the U.S. Government Accountability Office by Sierra Nevada Corporation.

The agency recognized that failure to provide the CCtCap transportation service as soon as possible poses risks to the International Space Station (ISS) crew, jeopardizes continued operation of the ISS, would delay meeting critical crew size requirements, and may result in the U.S. failing to perform the commitments it made in its international agreements. These considerations compelled NASA to use its statutory authority to avoid significant adverse consequences where contract performance remained suspended.

NASA determined that it best serves the United States to continue performance of the CCtCap contracts that will enable safe and reliable travel to and from the ISS from the United States on American spacecraft and end the nation’s sole reliance on Russia for such transportation.

 

 

On Oct., 21, 2014, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Oct. 21 allowed NASA to proceed with the performance of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts while the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) considered the GAO bid protest filed by Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA continued to work with Boeing and SpaceX on the contracts that will enable safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from U.S. soil.

In December 2014, NASA approved Boeing’s completion of both its first and second milestones under the CCtCap contracts and approved SpaceX’s completion of its first contract milestone.

In a media release NASA said “The GAO has notified NASA that it has denied Sierra Nevada Corporation’s protest of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract awards. NASA is pleased the GAO’s decision allows the agency to move forward and continue working with Boeing and SpaceX on the Launch America initiative that will enable safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from the United States, ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia for such transportation. The case remains under the protective order and blackout until the GAO releases its decision.”

In a media statement SNC said " At this stage, SNC is evaluating the GAO decision. While the outcome was not what SNC expected, we maintain our belief that the Dream Chaser spacecraft is technically very capable, reliable and was qualified to win based on NASA’s high ratings of the space system. We appreciate the time and effort contributed to this process by the GAO and NASA to fully evaluate such a critical decision for the United States."

SNC also plans to further the development and testing of the Dream Chaser and is making significant progress in its vehicle design and test program. In addition, SNC is continuing to expand its existing, while developing new, partnerships domestically and abroad in order to expand the multi-mission flexibility of the system, reduce overall long-term costs of the vehicle and ensure long-term affordability and sustainability for the Dream Chaser. Customers worldwide will benefit from multiple commercial space transportation providers for commercial space access, research and operations.
 
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