New NASA Contracts Sign Return to Manned Spaceflight

NASA astronaut Alvin Drew participates in an EVA on the Global Place Station on Feb. 28, 2011.

NASA awarded contracts today to Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to ferry astronauts to and from the International Place Station, signaling the agency’s return to manned spaceflight after the finish of the area shuttle plan.

“This is the success of the determination President Obama produced to return human place flight launches to U.S. soil and stop our reliance on the Russians,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said.

The winning designs will finish U.S. dependence on the Russian Soyuz for transportation back again and forth to the Global Space Station.

The announcement arrived right after an pricey and ferocious competitiveness to decide which firms would be tasked with constructing the subsequent era of spacecraft.

Boeing’s deal could have a value of $ 4.two billion while SpaceX’s deal is valued at $ 2.6 billion, in accordance to Kathy Lueders, the system manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Lueders stated obtaining two contracts will support NASA make confident it stays on track to meet its 2017 goal of manned spaceflights.

The Commercial Crew Plan was designed by NASA to replace the retired place shuttle, which was the workhorse of the agency’s place system for above 30 a long time.

Boeing has invested in the CST 100 capsule, which would launch on an Atlas V rocket — almost a turnkey proposition for NASA when you consider the company’s history in aerospace.

SpaceX has the gain of previously launching cargo spacecraft to the Worldwide Space Station and hopes to parlay that experience into a human variation of its Dragon spacecraft.

Lueders explained every single organization will be paid on the functionality of important milestones. The most significant a single: Boeing and SpaceX will have to successfully make manned flights to the Worldwide Room Station, where they will have to show their potential to produce cargo, dock and then return safely to Earth.

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