NASA announces agreement to have Three Commercial Companies develop Next Generation Spacecraft

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NASA announced on Friday that they have reached agreements with three commercial companies -- Sierra Nevada Corporation, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and The Boeing Company to help develop the next generation spacecraft. Over the next five years, these companies will help to design and build the new spacecraft for launching astronauts, government, and other commercial customers into space.

The agreements were signed under the Space Act Agreements through NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap). The initiative is in anticipation that the investments in commercial companies would eventually become a commercial human spaceflight service that would be able to be used by both government and commercial customers.

NASA announced that Sierra Nevada Corporation from Louisville, Colorado has a contract for $212.5 million. The Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) from Hawthorne, California has a contract worth $440 million. The Boeing Company from Houston, Texas has a contract worth $460 million.

The NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has tasked the CCiCap as an administration priority. Initially, the CCP’s goal is to be able to develop a reliable and cost-effective travel to and from the International Space Station and low Earth orbit. Overtime, the travel will be opened up for government and other customers.

NASA’s partners will be conducting tests, and refine the design for the new spacecraft from now until May 31, 2014. The goal will be to launch crewed orbital demonstration missions in low Earth orbit around sometime near 2015.

By: Julie Marcus
Science and Technology Writer

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