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NASA Alternate Access to Station Service ConceptThe evolving nature of the NASA space enterprise compels the agency to develop new and innovative space systems concepts. NASA, working with increasingly strained budgets and a declining manpower base, is attempting to transform from operational activities to procurement of commercial services. NASA's current generation reusable launch vehicle, the Shuttle, is in transition from a government owned and operated entity to a commercial venture to reduce the civil servant necessities for that program. NASA foresees its second generation launch vehicles being designed and operated by industry for commercial and government services. The "service" concept is a pioneering effort by NASA. The purpose the "service" is not only to reduce the civil servant overhead but will free up government resources for further research - and enable industry to develop a space business case so that industry can sustain itself beyond government programs. In addition, NASA desires a decreased responsibility thereby decreasing liability. The Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program is implementing NASA's Space Launch Initiative (SLI) to enable industry to develop the launch vehicles of the future. The Alternate Access to Station (AAS) project office within this program is chartered with enabling industry to demonstrate an alternate access capability for the International Space Station (ISS). The project will not accomplish this by traditional government procurement methods, not by integrating the space system within the project office, or by providing the only source of business for the new capability. The project funds will ultimately be used to purchase a service to take re-supply cargo to the ISS, much the same as any business might purchase a service from FedEx to deliver a package to its customer. In the near term, the project will fund risk mitigation efforts for enabling technologies. AAS is in some ways a precursor to the 2nd Generation RLV. By accomplishing ISS resupply with existing technologies, not only will a new category of autonomous vehicles deliver cargo, but a commercial business base will be incubated that will improve the likelihood of commercial convergence with the next generation of RLVs. Traditional paradigms in government management and acquisition philosophy are being challenged in order to bring about the objective of the AAS project. The phased procurement approach is proving to be the most questionable aspect to date. This work addresses the fresh approach AAS is adopting in management and procurement through a study of the AAS history, current solutions, key technologies, procurement complications, and an incremental forward plan leading to the purchase of a service to deliver goods to ISS. Included in this work is a discussion of the Commercial Space Act of 1998 and how it affects government purchase of space launch and space vehicle services. Industry should find these topics pertinent to their current state of business.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bailey, Michelle D.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Crumbly, Chris
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Meeting Information
Meeting: 53rd International Astronautical Congress Conference
Location: Houston, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: October 10, 2002
End Date: October 19, 2002
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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