Certified Safe

Planning to operate a taxi service for NASA astronauts? Here’s what’s required.

The Sierra Nevada Corporation's "Dream Chaser" is one possible contender for NASA's future crew transport to the space station. (Sierra Nevada Corp.)

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So I think my biggest pushback on the skeptics is that they need to look at who is on the team from the NASA program who’s making this stuff happen, and NASA engineers. Our history would tell us what is important and what is not important in order to go get a design that can go work. There are some areas where we will push extremely hard to make sure that we will have a safe vehicle. At the same time many of us have grown up … in the space shuttle program. We’ve seen some of the hard parts of the shuttle program, and where we can change the way we do business to make it more innovative and also make it more cost-effective.

I would also say the same thing is true in the companies. For [commercial crew], all of these companies are not folks that are right off the street. They are folks that had worked for NASA, and left NASA, and went to work for the contractors. There are folks that went from one company in aerospace to another company in aerospace. And I would put money on the table that says the best aerospace capabilities of the world are represented by our American aerospace industry. Whether or not they have a name that might be SpaceX, or Boeing, or Blue Origin, or Sierra Nevada or United Launch Alliance is secondary to the fact that as a nation we do have the best capability in order to go put a safe vehicle in space. And so that is what’s driving us, what's driving the program to go get a capability. When we get proposals and when we figure out who are the right ones, then NASA is bringing its 50 years of history to those contractors to help them make sure we have a safe vehicle to go fly. I am confident that we will have a safe vehicle when we go fly by the middle of the decade.

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