NASA's Commercial Crew Vehicles: Practical But Not Sexy

October 13, 2014 6:48 PM

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NASA's Commercial Crew Vehicles: Practical But Not Sexy

The two Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded to Boeing and SpaceX by NASA on September 16 should come as no big surprise to anyone familiar with both the agency's conservative culture and its relatively small annual budget of just under $18 billion. Boeing received $4.2 billion to continue with development of its human-rated system based on the Atlas V rocket and CST-100 capsule, while SpaceX got $2.6 billion to continue work on its Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket and Dragon V2 combo. The idea is for the two systems to be ready by 2017 to begin flying American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) so the United States can start to wean itself from its dependency on Russia.

Boeing and SpaceX beat out a proposal by Sierra Nevada based on the Atlas V and a reusable spaceplane called Dream Chaser.

Also read: Russian space craft lifts off for international space station

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