(Image: Falcon 9/Dragon configured for cargo delivery to the ISS. Credit: SpaceX)
With Congress wresting over the
(SpaceX) What this would mean for taxpayers and high tech jobs in the United States is very significant. Let's consider the default plan under way, which expects that our country will use the Russian Soyuz at the currently negotiated price of $47 million per seat for the period between Shuttle retirement (2010) and Ares/Orion reaching Space Station (2016). Even assuming that we drop the number of US astronauts going to Station from the current 30 per year with Shuttle down to 14 per year, the cost will be approximately $3.3 billion. However, there is also a human cost in the thousands of jobs that the money could have supported back home.
In contrast, F9/Dragon would cost less than $20M per seat and it is 100% manufactured and launched in the United States. We are estimating that it would create well in excess of a 1000 high quality jobs at Cape Canaveral and an equivalent number in California and Texas, where we do our manufacturing and testing. Moreover, the total cost would only be $1.5B, so taxpayers would save nearly $2B. [...]
COTS Capability D can be completed within two years from date of funds receipt. In fact, with a little extra money and some modifications to the plan, it can be accelerated even further.
Since COTS Capability D is an existing option in an already competed contract, NASA could exercise it right away, resulting in immediate job creation. [...]
If you think this makes sense, please contact your representatives in the House and Senate, as well as Rep. Mollohan and Senator Mikulski who lead the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittees. Please encourage them to fund NASA Exploration in the Stimulus Bill and provide the $300M in funding necessary to begin COTS Capability D.
While the public may not be a fan of spending even more tax dollars for the private sector (note: this author is not), Congress should probably fund the COTS-d program (as outsourcing to Russia does not sound like a great idea).
SpaceX has even provided a video, in order to help inspire Americans to support a home grown NewSpace company.
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