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Maintenance Aspects on the ISS, SpaceX or Boeing Spacecraft

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NASA began developing commercial cargo spacecraft to the space station under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, which lasted from 2006 to 2013

Starting in 2012, the first commercial spacecraft, SpaceX's Dragon, made a visit to the space station. Visits continue today with Dragon and Orbital ATK's Antares spacecraft under the first stage of NASA's Commercial Resupply Services program. Dragon, Antares and Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser all have received CRS-2 contracts expected to cover flights between 2019 and 2024.

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Boeing's astronaut taxi will cost NASA about 60% more per seat than SpaceX's vehicle will, according to a new report by the space agency's Office of Inspector General (OIG). NASA will likely pay about $90 million for each astronaut who flies aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule on International Space Station (ISS) missions, the report estimated. The per-seat cost for SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, meanwhile, will be around $55 million, according to the OIG's calculations. To put those costs into perspective: NASA currently pays about $86 million for each seat aboard Russia's three-person Soyuz spacecraft, which has been astronauts' only ride to and from the ISS since NASA's space shuttle fleet was grounded in July 2011.Boeing and SpaceX emerged as the winners of this competition in September 2014, scoring Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts currently worth $4.3 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively, to get Starliner and Crew Dragon up and running. These contracts also stipulated that each company fly six roundtrip missions to the ISS, carrying four astronauts up and back each time. (Both companies scored deals prior to the CCtCap contracts as well. Boeing has received a total of $4.82 billion from NASA's Commercial Crew Program to date and SpaceX has netted $3.14 billion

You can find those figures here.)

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After initially engaging eight companies to develop commercial crew technologies, subsystems, and integrated capabilities using Space Act Agreements, in 2014 NASA awarded firm-fixed-price Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to complete their space flight development and conduct crewed missions to the ISS (ISS Program Plan (Rev

A, October 2013). The CCtCap contracts set fixed prices for development activities and test flights, crewed missions to the ISS, and special studies. As of May 2019, Boeing and SpaceX’s contracts were valued at $4.3 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively. Of those amounts, Boeing’s costs for development and test flights were $2.2 billion, while SpaceX’s were $1.2 billion. For crewed missions to the ISS, NASA awarded each contractor six round-trip missions. Assuming four astronauts per flight and using publicly available information, the estimated average cost per seat is approximately $90 million for Boeing and approximately $55 million for SpaceX, potentially providing cost savings over current Soyuz prices (CCT-PLN-1120, Revision C-2, October 25, 2013). Additionally, each contract includes up to $150 million each for special studies requested by NASA, such as additional parachute testing on the contractors’ capsules.

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Given these points, only for the Starliner and Crew Dragon is their cost of development. The Starliner has received $4.8 billion in total for development and the first round of launches, while SpaceX received 3.1 billion. This includes 2 demo launches and 6 operational flights from each company

Now I really don’t want to go down a spitting match of why they received such different amounts, but it likely had to do with each companies proposal. SpaceX likely quoted less initially. Perhaps after SpaceX flies a few dozen astronauts, they can charge a little more for increased confidence from NASA… kind of like how they were able to increase the price of the cargo resupply missions once they proved to be reliable and after they gained a better sense of the costs of running the program.

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NASA, NASA Plan for Commercial LEO Development (June 7, 2019).

International Space Station (ISS) Program Plan (Rev. A, October 2013).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-267 § 403(b)(5) (2010).

Commercial Crew Transportation System Certification Requirements for NASA Low Earth Orbit Missions (HEOMD-CSD-10001, Rev. A, November 12, 2013).

Crew Transportation Technical Management Processes (CCT-PLN-1120, Revision C-2, October 25, 2013).

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