NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.
Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:
“The Boeing Company (Boeing) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) have each presented to us designs that will allow us to fly crews to the International Space Station in just a few years. Respectively, the vehicles are Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Dragon. The total potential contract value is $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX. The spacecraft will launch from Kennedy Space Center — Cape Canaveral complex.”
It is pretty impressive and exciting that SpaceX, a twelve year old private company, is part of this deal, if only to reassure us that the entrepreneurial spirit can still achieve great things.
Let’s hope involvement with the government doesn’t screw that up.