NASA Unveils New Plan to Buy Rides for Astronauts

Monday, 19 Sep 2011 08:11 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA plans to spend $1.6 billion over the next two years bolstering industry efforts to develop space taxis, officials said Monday.

The U.S. space agency will be looking for complete systems -- launchers, spaceships, mission operations and ground support -- to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by the middle of the decade, a draft solicitation released Monday shows.

The money will supplement investments that private companies are making to develop commercial space transportation services.

President Barack Obama has requested $850 million for NASA's so-called Commercial Crew initiative for the year beginning Oct. 1. The Senate Appropriations Committee last week offered $500 million.

With the U.S. space shuttles retired, the United States is dependent on Russia to fly its astronauts to the space station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations that orbits about 225 miles above Earth. Russia charges more than $50 million a person, including training and support services.

A Russian cargo ship failed last month to reach orbit after a launch accident, exposing the vulnerability of having only one way for crew to fly to the space station. The Progress rocket, which was carrying a cargo capsule of food and fuel, and the Soyuz booster that carries crew use nearly identical upper-stage motors.

China, the only other country that has flown people in orbit, is not a member of the space station program.

"Right now, we have a single-string failure for a $100 billion national lab," NASA's commercial spaceflight development director, Phil McAlister, said at an industry briefing in Florida Friday, referring to the reliance on one option to transport crew to the space station.

"Every year we do not have a commercial crew capability, the station is at risk," he said.

NASA expects to award multiple contracts for the third phase of its commercial crew development work next year. The contracts would begin in July 2012 and conclude in April 2014.

The solicitation is due to be released before the end of the year.

NASA is now supporting spaceship development by four firms -- Boeing, Space Exploration Technologies, Sierra Nevada Corp and Blue Origin, a privately funded aerospace company set up by Amazon's Jeff Bezos. The contracts are worth a combined $269 million.

Also Monday, NASA added $46 million to its current commercial crew program, allotting an extra $25.6 million for Sierra Nevada and $20.6 million for Boeing for additional work on their spaceships. (Editing by Kevin Gray and Peter Cooney)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Space Engineer John Casey: Philae Lander Is a 'Great Success'

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 20:22 PM

The Philae Lander, the first probe to touch down on a comet, is "already a great success," John Casey, president of Spac . . .

Russia Webcam Site Spies Into Bedrooms, Offices Worldwide

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 12:30 PM

A Russian website offering thousands of live feeds peering into bedrooms and offices around the world by accessing poorl . . .

Bezos's Washington Post Will Be Free on Amazon's Kindle Fire

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 10:03 AM

The Washington Post, the newspaper acquired by Amazon.Com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, today unveiled a new all-tablet news  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved