16 Dec Message from Buzz re: NASA CCDev-2 Program
RE: Recent announcement of VG collaboration with OSC, and with SNC, on NASA CCDev-2 Program
In response to media inquiries concerning my perception of the radical new course of America’s involvement with space, I want to establish that I am personally delighted to see the expansion of private sector involvement in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development-2 Program, through the recent announcement that Virgin Galactic will be partnering with Sierra Nevada Corporation, and with Orbital Sciences Corporation, in this important step to commercialize access to space – for both civil space, and for the emerging space tourism business. We have learned through nearly fifty years of Human Space Flight experience, and from nearly thirty years of the Space Shuttle operations, that returning reusable vehicles to the launch site is operationally much more efficient, and thus the private sector requirement for low operational costs will dominate this need. I also see great value in capitalizing on the investment that NASA has already made in the Orion Program – to use this capability for its intended purpose – returning from higher energy, deep space missions, where this configuration is better suited to meet these requirements. I would like to endorse this kind of approach as the right direction for our future in human space flight – in partnership with NASA, as a cost effective means of meeting our civil space needs, while also providing the foundation for expanded commercial access to space for the private sector, and enabling the eventual expansion of humankind beyond the bounds of Low Earth Orbit.