Keith Cowing posted an interesting notice over on SpaceRef today. Basically NASA is using authority in one bill to remove a restriction in their acquisition regulations on doing “anchor tenant” type contracts. Anchor tenancy agreements have been talked about in the past as a way of making it easier to close the business case on things like commercial propellant depots or tugs. Basically, if NASA has a need that lines up with the proposed commercial service, NASA can sign up as the first customer for several years, giving the rest of the market time to react to this service being available, in the hopes of giving the market time to grow. The rule suggests a maximum 10 year window of anchor tenancy, and a requirement for private capital to be at risk in the process, and for the anchor tenancy contracts to be Firm Fixed Price.
I think this is potentially a really positive move forward that might open the doors for commercialization of technologies that NASA is helping fund development for. Just thought I’d pass along the thoughts.