Michael believer has a post on NASA's new Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS) RFP. He also has some quotes from Gary Hudson, t/Space's co-founder. T/Space seems happy with it:
...he's impressed with the RFP and that he's confident that private industry can rise to the challenge
Money will be tight, as NASA only has $500 million to work with, but isn't that we all wanted? A thrifty NASA goes a long way to a commercial space infrastructure.
If you look at the vendors interested in this, a few names stick out. We all expected T/Space and SpaceDev, but IBM? ATK is a little ironic, I think. I am sure everyone interested isn't a rocket builder. I mean they will need communications, sensors, launch ops, etc... But it is still odd to see IBM and Cisco on the list.
Looking at the COTS Q&A, this gives me a warm and fuzzy:
Q: If a contractor's full service approach includes multiple mission capabilities, will bundling of mission capability demonstrations be allowed?
It means that NASA is looking past it's own requirements crap to allow efficiency. Five or Ten years ago the answer to that would have been no (IMHO).
The schedule is here. Looks like the official annoucement will be out January 9, 2006 and proposals are due Feb 10, 2006. The contracts will be done in May 2006 (here's keeping our fingers crossed).
Come on Mike, don't screw this up.