NASA is developing a space technology contracting arrangement designed to enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to be involved in developing systems for crew and cargo transport to Earth orbit and beyond.

The "non-traditional" contract could consist of many fixed-price milestones, each ending with a hardware demonstration. Discussions are under way with interested parties, including Virginia-based Transformational Space (T/Space).

"NASA is asking for advice, but has not come to a conclusion yet. We have suggested that the new approach involves hardware milestones and that NASA pay for results, not for effort," says chief executive Donald Gump. He describes the traditional cost-plus contract NASA will use for Crew Exploration Vehicle development as an arrangement that rewards effort and not results.

T/Space has been in negotiations with NASA's office of exploration systems, which is run by Craig Steidle, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems. Speaking at the conference, Jim Benson, founding chairman of US space technology developer Spacedev, praised Steidle for his readiness to accommodate SMEs.

Source: Flight International