Boeing and SpaceX Win the $6.8 Billion Race for NASA's Flights

After a pretty tight competition, NASA has decided that Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX will be the companies to develop the agency’s future two-human spaceflight vehicles. Boeing has won the bigger portion of the project, drawing a $4.2 billion share for its CST-100 capsule, while SpaceX took the other $2.6 billion to finish developing and fly the crew version of its Dragon cargo vehicle.
Boeing and SpaceX Win the $6.8 Billion Race for NASA's Flights 1 photo
Photo: Edited by Autoevolution
The money is going to be spent during the next five years and both companies will work to the same requirements. Sierra Nevada Corp., the third who battled the competition to return human space launch to U.S. soil, did not make it to the finish line.

According to Aviation Week, Boeing’s space shuttle is an aluminum capsule with an ablative heat shield, designed to return to Earth on dry land under parachutes, with airbags deploying to soften the final touchdown. Plans are for it to deploy on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V.

On the other hand, the crew-version Dragon is basically an upgrade of the Dragon already delivering cargo to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. Both Dragon variants were created to be launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

According to Kathy Lueders, NASA’s commercial crew program manager, both Boeing and SpaceX must meet five milestones, including a demonstration flight to the ISS with at least one NASA astronaut on board, to qualify for between two and six operational missions.

The Agency’s plans are for the first flight to take off in 2017, the same year when they will award task orders for “post-certification missions” or as long as five years after the effective date of the contract.

Long story short, considering the latest news of Tesla’s gigafactory being built in Nevada, with state preps hitting $1.2 billion incentive package, and now having SpaceX winning the competition for NASA’s shuttle spacecraft travel, it’s easy to conclude Elon Musk is up for some serious business.
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