NASA To Proceed With Commercial Crew Contracts Despite Sierra Nevada Bid Protest

NASA worked with Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX during the Certification Products Contract phase. Image Credit: NASA/Matthew Young

NASA worked with Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX during the Certification Products Contract phase. Image Credit: NASA/Matthew Young

October 9, 2014 – NASA has decided to exercise its statutory authority to proceed with the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded to The Boeing Company and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. despite the bid protest filed at the U.S. Government Accountability Office by Sierra Nevada Corporation.

NASA cited a need to provide the CCtCap transportation service as soon as possible for the safety of the International Space Station (ISS) crew, continued operation of the ISS, and a need to meet critical crew size requirements in order to perform the commitments the agency has made in international agreements.

NASA has 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 September 16, NASA announced 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 the goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) had also competed for a crew contact using its Dream Chaser spacecraft. All three of the companies were found to be compliant and awardable under the criteria set forth in the request for proposal (RFP), but only Boeing and SpaceX were selected.

SNC filed a protest of the commercial crew contracts with the U.S. Government Accountability Office on September 26, stating that the U.S. government would spend up to $900 million more at the publicly announced contracted level for a space program equivalent to the program that SNC proposed. Pursuant to the GAO protest, NASA instructed Boeing and SpaceX to suspend performance of the contracts.