Tags: Boeing | space taxi | SpaceX | NASA

Boeing Likely To Be NASA's Choice for Space Taxi

Boeing Likely To Be NASA's Choice for Space Taxi
(Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 September 2014 10:26 AM


Boeing appears to have won a large contract to build spacecraft that would take astronauts to and from orbit for NASA, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The announcement could come as early as today.

Boeing has said that it plans on being able to ferry people into space aboard its CST-100 crew transportation vehicle by next year.

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Boeing is competing with two other spaceflight companies for the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract (CCtCap): Sierra Nevada Corp., and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., otherwise known as SpaceX.

The space taxi contract is worth more than $3 billion, according to The Seattle Times.

SpaceX has been seen as the primary rival, particularly after its April announcement that the company had successfully launched its flagship Falcon 9 spacecraft, which would carry equipment needed to resupply the International Space Station. The launch is the first part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA, according to CNET.

However, Boeing marked a milestone recently which may give it an edge.

According to Space.com, Boeing said its CST-100 program had made it through its critical design review of integrated systems and that it has met all of its goals on time and on budget ahead of the NASA announcement.

SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, has emerged as Boeing's main rival in the private space exploration field.

"[SpaceX have] only been around a dozen years, and they've done what most countries have been unable to do: build a rocket that can take heavy payloads to Earth orbit, build a spaceship that can navigate and dock with the Space Station, and then undock, and return to Earth," astronaut Chris Hadfield told CNET in a May interview.

The contract for the space taxi is viewed as an essential to NASA's future after the Space Shuttle program was shelved in 2011. The program was the only way NASA could transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station and forced the agency to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to provide this service.

The Journal also said that NASA would likely award a smaller contract "as a second source" to either SpaceX or rival Sierra Nevada Corp.

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Boeing’s proposed CST-100 capsule received $480 million under NASA funding awarded in 2012, compared with $400 million for SpaceX’s Dragon V2 capsule and $219.5 million for Sierra Nevada’s orbiter, according to the Times.

In May, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced his nation would reject a U.S. request to prolong the International Space Station's use beyond 2020 in retaliation for U.S. plans to deny export licenses for high-technology items that could help the Russian military, reported CNBC.


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Boeing appears to have won a large contract to build spacecraft that would take astronauts to and from orbit for NASA.
Boeing, space taxi, SpaceX, NASA
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2014-26-16
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 10:26 AM
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