NASA drops Boeing from race for $3.5 billion cargo contract
NASA has informed Boeing that it is out of the running for a $3.5 billion competition to send cargo to the International Space Station, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.
Boeing has received a NASA contract to send astronauts to the ISS aboard its CST-100 Starliner capsule beginning as early as 2017, but its bid to get US space agency funds for a cargo version in the coming years was dismissed.
"We received some information as part of the letter we received from NASA this morning but until we get the debrief we can't say much," Boeing spokeswoman Kelly Kaplan told AFP.
While some analysts had expected an announcement this week, NASA's website showed that the space agency has pushed back its timeline to announce the award to no later than January 30.
SpaceX and Orbital each got a share of NASA's first round of $3.6 billion in commercial cargo contracts to supply the ISS, are still in the running for the second round of funding under a program called Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2).
Sierra Nevada Corporation is also reportedly still in the running.
According to the Florida Today newspaper, which first broke the news on Thursday of Boeing's loss, Sierra Nevada Corp. said "NASA is continuing CRS2 discussions with the company as one of the offerors in the competitive range."
The capsule that Boeing had proposed to send to the ISS was a variation on its CST-100 Starliner, Kaplan said.
"It would have been the same spacecraft but just a cargo variant," she said.
Last month, Boeing was beat out by Northrop Grumman for a $55 billion award to build America's next generation of long-distance bombers for the US Air Force.
© 2015 AFP