SpaceX - Gwynne Shotwell at Hearings - "Can guarantee launch cheaper than Russians."


Uploaded by joshcryer on 25.03.2010

Transcript:
Thank you Mr. Colbertson
Miss Gwynne Shotwell is President of SpaceX.
And she will discuss SpaceX's progress and obstacles in developing crew capabilities.
Chairman Nelson, Sen. Hutchinson,
On behalf of the nearly one thousand employees of SpaceX I'm honored to be here...
...to address the questions that you have provided.
It's probably no secret that SpaceX is fully supportive of the NASA budget and plans...
...for commercial crew and cargo, and we're grateful for the support that this committee has provided to date.
As a fast-growing entrepreneurial US launch services provider that competes daily...
...for both domestic and international business,
...having the support of congress and the US government is vital to our success.
Of the over thirty plus space launches we have currently on our manifest NASA represents...
...just under half of those and so they're a critical customer.
I'm pleased to be here today to discuss the proposed fiscal 2011 budget...
and specifically their proposals to use commercial launch service providers...
...to bring crew and cargo to the International Space Station.
Although this has been a matter of policy in law since 2004 we recognize...
...that some still question whether the commercial space industry is up for this challenge...
...even with the significant support provided for in the budget.
Accordingly, I want to answer three questions today.
Initially, first, can SpaceX develop a capability to deliver...
...crew to the ISS? And if so, when?
Second, can SpaceX perform crew missions regularly and safely?
And third, is a commercial crew program critical for the United States to explore other destinations...
...in the solar system such as Mars?
The simple answer to each of these questions is yes. And I'll follow up with a few detailed remarks.
Regarding timing...
SpaceX firmly believes that we can get astronauts to the International Space Station...
...within three years of contract award...
...largely based on the fact that our Dragon capsule was designed from the inception...
...to carry crew...
...with minor upgrading...
from our cargo vehicle.
Since the company was founded in 2002 we have designed, developed, and...
...successfully launched...
...the first privately financed liquid fueled rocket, and we've gotten that vehicle to orbit, twice, in a row.
Under the COTS program we're on track to demonstrate...
...cargo capability to the ISS within less than a year.
This demonstration will then be followed by twelve...
...commercial cargo resupply missions to the ISS.
Although our Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft have been contracted to carry cargo currently,
we certainly have an existing option under the COTS program to carry crew as well.
As I mentioned earlier, both the Falcon 8 launch vehicle and the Dragon capsule have...
...been designed since inception to carry to accommodate crew...
...in fact because our spacecraft must approach and birth with the ISS...
...many of the crew rating criteria will have already been verified on Dragon before we get to the ISS.
We are therefore confident that we can complete all necessary enhancements for Dragon...
...demonstrate Falcon 9's reliability, and be ready to fly astronauts to the station within three years.
Regarding safety...
SpaceX plans to fully comply with any and all safety standards set by NASA under the...
US and the US government.
We believe the notion that NASA would place astronauts on an unproven commercial rocket...
...is simply an unrealistic concern.
Falcon 9 and Dragon will fly numerous cargo and operational flights to the ISS before ever carrying crew.
SpaceX has contracted over 24 Falcon 9 flights some of which are Dragon flights as well.
And we're adding new missions to the manifest by the end of the month, actually.
If development problems ever arise early in the Falcon 9 or Dragon program those problems have...
...plenty of time to be resolved...
...and demonstrate the service reliably.
Commercial vehicles are inherently reliable as demonstrated by the long proven heritage...
...of the Atlas and Delta programs.
There's nothing inherently unreliable about a commercial service.
There's been significant debate over what it means for a rocket to be man rated.
NASA is only now establishing commercial human rating requirements.
Notwithstanding, SpaceX designed the Falcon 9 and Dragon with all the known NASA requirements in mind.
In fact, SpaceX has gone even further.
For example, Falcon 9 is the only launch vehicle,
foreign or domestic,
That can survive the loss of any first stage engine.
This was a capability that both the Saturn I and Saturn V rockets had...
...and they were used to save astronauts' lives.
Going forward, SpaceX will comply with any NASA published human rating requirements...
...and we look forward to engaging with the agency on...
...crew rating our systems.
Let me be clear as we've been criticized on this point:
SpaceX is not looking for a free or easy ride with respect to meeting any NASA...
...imposed crew rating criteria.
Lastly, some have criticized NASAs fiscal year 2011 budgetary vision for lacking...
...in destinations beyond low earth orbit.
SpaceX firmly believes that using commercial crew and cargo services for LEO...
...will free up NASA resources to focus on exploring other destinations in the solar system, such as Mars.
By engaging the commercial sector now...
...NASA will be developing procurement processes and techniques that will help enable the...
...government to cost effectively manage future exploration efforts.
Specifically, if NASA relies on commercial companies like those represented here today...
...much the same way that the defense and national security community relies on us...
...to protect the payload and precious homeland and troops overseas,
NASA can focus its great mind and limited financial resources on what NASA has always done best:
Pushing the frontier and exploring worlds beyond.
Mr. Chairman, the nearly one thousand men and women of SpaceX appreciate your time...
...and your attention to this matter.
I'm happy to answer any questions.
Thank you Miss Shotwell.
Let me turn to Miss Shotwell and Mr. Colbertson and speak for your companies on that question.
Gwynne: I appreciate this opportunity. I'm here say that we can guarantee...
...crew flights to the ISS for last than fifty million dollars a seat.
By what year?
Three years from the time we initiate.
And the reason why it sounds so quick is because the dragon vehicle
...was designed really from the outset to accommodate crew, with a number of key developments still...
...to do, but developments we are comfortable with.
Sen. Nelson: Do you have to have all the six billion dollars to develop it?
Gwynne: No sir. | Sen. Nelson: How much?
I prefer to answer that question slightly differently if you don't mind.
If you were to spend all six billion dollars on a commercial crew...
...and everybody were to make our same bid...
You would have somewhere between five and ten.
Sen. Nelson: Between five and ten what? | Gwynne: Five and ten suppliers.
Mr. Colbertson?
*flustered* Mr Chairman, I don't think I can be quite that optimistic.