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Wagging the Proposal

T-Space appears to be dropping out of at least the lunar lander portion of Constellation: Paperwork stops space privateers building lunar lander.

While others have focused on this paragraph:

“NASA wants 40 to 50 monthly reports on what you’re doing,” David Gump, president of the Transformational Space consortium told New Scientist on Monday. And while “we could build a great Crew Exploration Vehicle”, Gump says, the consortium cannot comply with the reports and studies NASA stipulates to monitor the project.

…what caught my eye was this:

While a consortium that includes Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, builders of the first privately owned spacecraft, say they can build a great spaceship, they don’t have the expertise or resources to do all the paperwork. [emphasis added]

Just yesterday, while listening to some of my coworkers bemoaning the long list of detailed cost and schedule estimates required by NASA, and all the work required to produce such figures using internal estimating relationships based on past projects, it occurred to me to wonder how T-Space (or any individual startup) could possibly submit a winning CEV proposal, given that they by definition lack a substantial historical data set from which to draw this information.

This is a topic outside my area of expertise, so perhaps industry-wide statistics or other substitutes are available for this purpose. Anyone?

2 comments to Wagging the Proposal

  • Brian

    No doubt if you don’t have the data set required there are exception documents. There are always exception documents.

    I wonder if the root problem is cultural. Any person working for a huge aerospace company might find that ‘doing the paperwork’ is part of the internal culture. It’s not a bad thing, and a proper documentation prodecure is a good thing to have BUT. A small outfit is not going to have that same paper culture, with entire departments dedicated to the Process of chasing paper.