Status Report

Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Demonstrations

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 2005
Filed under , ,
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Demonstrations

Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Demonstrations
Announcement Number COTS-01-05
December 5, 2005 Draft
Proposals Due: February 10, 2006

Commercial Crew/Cargo Project Office
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate

For Questions Regarding This Announcement:

Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Demonstrations – Draft 01



To be supplied.


NASA has established the Commercial Crew/Cargo Project Office at the Johnson Space Center as part of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The objectives of the project are to:

• implement U.S. Space Exploration policy with an investment to stimulate commercial enterprises in space,

• facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration of cargo and crew space transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving reliable, cost effective access to low-Earth orbit,

• create a market environment in which commercial space transportation services are available to Government and private sector customers.

2.1 Approach

The announcement and subsequent agreements with industry partners in this project are referred to as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demonstrations. COTS is envisioned to be executed in two phases:

• Phase 1 – A period of development and demonstration by private industry in coordination with NASA of various space transportation capabilities to and from low-Earth orbit (LEO) determined to be most desirable for the Government and other customers.

• Phase 2 – A potential competitive procurement of orbital transportation services to resupply the ISS with cargo and crew, if a capability is successfully demonstrated and the Government determines it is in its best interest.

The activities associated with the implementation of Phase 1, also referred to as COTS Demos, will be governed by this announcement and any resulting Space Act Agreement (SAA). All information, instructions, and periods of performance provided herein refer to the COTS Demos phase unless specifically mentioned otherwise. NASA intends to use its Space Act authority to enter into multiple funded agreements resulting from this announcement. The actual number of SAAs will be based upon the types of proposed capabilities selected to fit within the available funding.

This announcement solicits proposals from industry for Earth to orbit space flight demonstrations of any combination of the following capabilities:

Period 1

Capability A: External cargo delivery and disposal

Capability B: Internal cargo delivery and disposal

Capability C: Internal cargo delivery and return

Option Period 2

Capability D: Crew transportation.

Capability A delivers cargo (payloads) that operate directly in the space environment to a LEO test bed and provides for its safe disposal.

Capability B delivers cargo (payloads) that operate within a volume maintained at normal atmospheric pressure to a LEO test bed and provides for its safe disposal.

Capability C delivers cargo (payloads) that operate within a volume maintained at normal atmospheric pressure to a LEO test bed and provides for its safe return to Earth.

Capability D delivers crew to a LEO test bed and provides for safe return to Earth.

The scope of the demonstrations involves the development and operation of an end-to-end space transportation system of services including ground operations and integration, launch, rendezvous, proximity operations, docking or berthing, orbital operations, reentry, and safe disposal or return. The demonstrations will culminate with a crew/cargo transportation mission to and from the ISS, which serves as the destination and active LEO test bed for the orbital phase of the mission.

Proposals are also solicited for crew transportation Capability D, but only as an option to period 1 proposals for Capability C. The period 2 demonstrations will consist of multiple missions to LEO and the ISS. The number of missions proposed to satisfy human rating requirements for commercial passengers will be evaluated and ultimately determined by NASA. The option will be considered for execution only after the successful demonstration of Capability C.

Participants may propose a system solution targeting any of the capabilities individually or propose a system that satisfies multiple capabilities. NASA prefers to award multiple agreements for demonstrations covering all capabilities; however, due to funding limitations, this may not be possible.

Payments will be made upon the successful completion of performance milestones as proposed by the participants and negotiated with NASA. NASA’s contribution will be a fixed amount and will not be increased or decreased based on the participant’s ability to obtain private funding. 2.2 Project Schedule Period 1 will commence upon the execution of the SAA targeted for May 2006 and will end after the successful flight demonstration of the selected capability expected to occur in the 2008-2010 timeframe.

Option Period 2 is planned to commence upon the successful demonstration of Capability C and will extend for the length of time proposed and negotiated to complete the demonstration objectives. The execution of this optional period may be contingent upon additional NASA funding availability.

The solicitation schedule milestones are posted on the following COTS website: . Participants are encouraged to refer regularly to this site for updates to the schedule and other current news and information.

SpaceRef staff editor.