NASA Paying “More Money For Less Cargo” In New Commercial Contracts Written 27 April 2018

Space News reports that according to a report released Thursday by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency is paying more money for less cargo delivered to the ISS as part of commercial cargo contracts issued in 2016. The OIG report also “flagged a number of issues with all three companies that received Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 contracts, from one company’s reliance on a single, unproven spacecraft to use of foreign hardware by another.” Under CRS contracts awarded in 2008, Orbital ATK and SpaceX are to deliver an “estimated 93,800 kilograms of cargo to the ISS over 31 missions for a total cost of $5.93 billion,” but under the CRS-2 contracts the companies and Sierra Nevada Corporation would transport 87,000 kilograms at a 14 percent higher cost per kilogram. Using three companies, “OIG said, increases overall integration costs, but reduces the opportunities for volume discounts by spreading missions across three providers.” Citing $700 million in integration costs, OIG added that NASA missed an opportunity to take advantage of overlaps in technical requirements for SpaceX Dragon 2 cargo missions as well as crewed missions funded under a separate contract. The OIG report also cited risk related to Orbital ATK’s reliance on Russian-built RD-181 engines and the development of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft. 
More Info (Space News)