Corrections to reporting errors
Note that NASA’s COTS acronym stand for “Commercial Orbital Transportation Services,” not “commercial off the shelf”. Although SpaceX takes advantage of commercially available products when appropriate and cost effective, there is almost nothing “off the shelf” about our rockets.
Since 2002, we’ve developed and flown an entirely new launch vehicle, including two new liquid fueled rocket engines, avionics, software, two complete launch sites (and a third on its way at SLC-40), state of the art test facilities – all from scratch. In addition we have the far larger Falcon 9 rocket and our Dragon cargo and crew carrying spacecraft in rapid development. We produce nearly everything for our rockets in-house, all under one giant seven acre roof in southern Los Angeles.
The recent amendment to our NASA agreement is not a “setback” but an agreed upon set of schedule changes and milestones (a few sooner, some later, and four new ones) developed with NASA over the past six months. The amendment accommodates many interests; our own development and testing programs, as well as the many needs of NASA’s Space Shuttle and ISS programs, government regulatory agencies, the launch range, and others.
Also, contrary to the Flight.com article, the first flight of Falcon 9 has not been delayed. We remain on schedule to deliver our first Falcon 9 to Cape Canaveral by the end of this year for flight as soon as all systems are go.
However, the first COTS flight has changed. It is now scheduled to be the fourth Falcon 9 flight, not the third. Overall, the end date for our COTS program slips by only six months – which, as you all know, is a very small change in a field where delays of years are quite common.
Our full flight manifest is posted on the SpaceX.com site.
Roger G - [email protected]