C3PO - Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Office
This is the NASA outsourcing program to the commercial sector. It is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. C3PO has broken the program into two components - crew and cargo. he cargo portion is referred to as COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services). Crew Development is referred to as CCDev. To date, there have been three phases to the crew portion of the program, referred to as CCDev, CCdev2 and CCiCap (Commercial Crew integrated Capability), formerly CCDev3.
The companies selected for COTS will be given contracts for delivery of supplies to the International Space Station once they have passed a certain set of milestones. SpaceX has already met those milestones.
There were five companies awarded under CCDev, and four awards under CCDev2. CCiCap resulted in three additional awards. There have also been several unfunded agreements in which NASA provides technical advice and expertise.
A snapshot of each COTS and CCDev contractor is provided on other pages.
The following is taken directly from NASA's C3PO page:
The C3PO will extend human presence in space by enabling an expanding and robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry.
- Implement U.S. Space Exploration policy with investments to stimulate
the commercial space industry
- Facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration of cargo and crew space
transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving safe, reliable, cost
effective access to low-Earth orbit
- Create a market environment in which commercial space transportation
services are available to Government and private sector customers
NASA's traditional approach is to create government owned and operated systems, working in a government/contractor relationship with industry. To help stimulate commercial spaceflight, the Commercial Crew & Cargo Program employs a different strategy where industry creates privately owned and operated space transportation systems, with NASA serving as a lead investor and customer of transportation services. Furthermore, NASA provides technical assistance as industry develops and demonstrates its services.
The Program manages Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) partnership agreements with U.S. industry totaling $800M for commercial cargo transportation demonstrations and is investing $50M towards commercial crew development initiatives.