NASA awards $270 million in spaceship contracts

Apr 18, 2011
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX announced the company's Falcon Heavy rocket on April 5, 2011. NASA awarded nearly 270 million dollars to four companies, including Boeing and SpaceX, to help their pursuit of making a spacecraft to replace the US space shuttle.

NASA on Monday announced it has awarded nearly 270 million dollars to four companies, including Boeing and SpaceX, to help their pursuit of making a spacecraft to replace the US space shuttle.

The Houston, Texas-based aviation giant Boeing received the biggest contract -- $92.3 million -- as part of the second round of NASA commercial crew development program, or CCDev2.

Sierra Nevada Corporation, a Colorado-based company that is at work on its DreamChaser shuttle, won the second largest sum at $80 million.

, the California-based company that last year completed its first successful test of an unmanned into orbit and back, won $75 million and Blue Origin of Kent, Washington received $22 million.

"These agreements are significant milestones in NASA's plans to take advantage of American ingenuity to get to low-Earth orbit, so we can concentrate our resources on deep space exploration," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden.

NASA awarded about $50 million in its first round of commercial crew contracts, CCDev1, which began in 2009.

The US is winding down later this year with final flights of Endeavour in April and Atlantis in June, ending an era of American that began with the first space shuttle mission in 1981.

When the shuttle program ends, the United States hopes that private industry will be able to fill the gap by creating the next generation of spacecraft to transport astronauts into space.

Until then, the world's space agencies will have to rely on Russia's space capsules for transit to the orbiting .

Explore further: Video: MAVEN set to slide into orbit around Mars

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rgwalther
2.7 / 5 (7) Apr 18, 2011
$270 million! Under NASA that won't buy a toilet.
Private enterprise could probably go to Mars for the same price.
Dunbar
4.7 / 5 (6) Apr 18, 2011
@rgwalther. Eh? NASA is funding this, it is merely contracting to private companies, something it has always done. The difference this time is the entire project is going private rather than just components. This is because the remit has changed, the military have their own shuttle, now NASA is free to get the best deal without the uniforms breathing down their necks.

When the military is involved costs spiral. Now it's a truely civilian endeavour (for the 1st time in NASA history), expect costs to plummet.
tigger
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 18, 2011
Should have given the lot to SpaceX... has been quite amazing to follow their achievements come one after the other, really an amazing story. Boeing will achieve something with their share but I guarantee SpaceX will achieve more with their lesser share.
Dunbar
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2011
@tigger. What is amazing about the SpaceX story? They employ very young smart people at radically reduced salaries to keep costs down! The smart people agree to this because they love working on space projects. If they were "rugged individualists" they would be working for the big companies, Boeing, Lockheed and NASA who would pay them VERY well for their skills. These guys are doing it for their ideals, not for money.
purringrumba
3 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2011
If they were "rugged individualists" they would be working for the big companies.


Let's all think about this statement, LOL.
Dunbar
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2011
It is apparent you do not understand the use of quotation marks for the sake of irony... oh well.
jmlvu
not rated yet Apr 19, 2011
Boeing won't build anything, they will use thier share to buy out Space X.
Becca_D
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2011
@purringgrumba. That statement is fine. The term "rugged individualist" is in quotes, Dunbar is obviously poking fun. I suggest you reread his post with this in mind.
LKD
5 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2011
Should have given the lot to SpaceX... has been quite amazing to follow their achievements come one after the other, really an amazing story. Boeing will achieve something with their share but I guarantee SpaceX will achieve more with their lesser share.


Though they have done a nice job, I would not trust Musk to deliver as touted. Anyone who spends most of their time lobbying for cash has suspect written all over them; their numbers as well, don't add up.

Take their promises with a grain of salt and wait for results. It sounds great, but you see this maneuver in all companies trying to break into a market: Undercut everything under the sun, then start charging more till you are just like everyone else who you decried.