Space Contractors Face Heat

Good morning and happy Friday. This was a busy week on the Hill, especially after the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion about Roe v. Wade on Monday (more on that in a minute). But Congress also tackled some issues you may not have heard as much about.

New Era For Space Contractors?

After more than a decade of bloated budgets, setbacks, and tardiness in creating the Space Launch System (SLS), lawmakers seem to be losing some of their patience with contractors involved in space exploration projects. Even NASA Administrator Bill Nelson—an architect of the SLS program—is using choice words.

At a Senate hearing this week, Nelson signaled the space agency wants to design its contracts to encourage timeliness and competition going forward, as NASA seeks to return humans to the moon this decade. Nelson told senators NASA’s use of cost-plus contracts, which give more flexibility to companies, has been “a plague on us in the past.”

Moving to a fixed-price system for development of key Artemis mission systems, including the human landing system, “can bring us all the value of competition,” Nelson told senators. 

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