Remember the infamous $640 toilet seat for the P-3C in the Reagan era?
While the Obama administration might have had the right through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.idea to dump money into the economy to stimulate goods, services and jobs, the idea of giving NASA $1 billion of that money and expecting the agency to spend it wisely in a very short time was... Ok, judge for yourself.
This is one of many examples of seemingly over-cost goods that I have seen come through the FedBizOps pages when it comes to the Reinvestment Act,
NASA's Ames Research Center is paying Bell Helicopter $4 million to design and deliver a set of prop rotor blades, which I have to presume are similar to the V22 Osprey or BA609 tiltrotor blades the company is building or is in the process of building.
NASA says it will use the swiveling test stand to "enable testing of single, approximately 25ft diameter rotors [the size of the BA609 rotor] in the 40x80ft wind tunnel and 40ft diameter rotors [the V22 rotor is 38ft diameter] in the 80 x120ft wind tunnel".
"The result of this task will enable next generation vertical lift aircraft with substantial performance and productivity improvements," NASA says in the contract annoucement.
It could be that there is a great deal of R&D in these blades and test stand, but no one is saying.
Bell says call NASA.
NASA, through a spokeswoman, says the notices in FedBizOpps are...
"task orders on an existing contract that was competed in 2008 for the design and fabrication of an advanced capability tiltrotor test stand for the National Full-scale Aerodynamics Complex at Ames. In one task order, the company will be completing another segment of the fabrication". That's the $6 million contract.
Regarding the $4 million contract, NASA says...
"In the other task order, the company will be providing a set of blades which will be used to check out the facility once construction is completed."
$4 million for a set of blades just to check out a new facility? I've got a $640 toilet seat they may want to have a look at.