SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Awarded NASA Contracts: $3.5 Billion Total

SpaceX Dragon approaches the ISS (SpaceX)

SpaceX Dragon approaches the ISS (SpaceX)

NASA has just signed two very large cheques for two private spaceflight companies, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Orbital Sciences Corporation. The contracts will allow private launches to re-supply the International Space Station beyond Shuttle decommissioning in 2010, and SpaceX claims they could be doing it by next year.

These contracts represent some of the largest ever given to private enterprise, and demonstrates the trust the US space agency is placing in these space start-ups. The contracts are worth $3.5 billion combined; $1.9 billion for Orbital Sciences and $1.6 billion for SpaceX, equating to 8 flights from Orbital and 12 flights from SpaceX. For now, these contracts are for cargo deliveries only, replacing the Shuttle and providing a viable alternative to the Russian Progress flights. Critically, the US now has a very real prospect to bridge the “5-year gap” from Shuttle retirement (2010) and Constellation launch (2015).

All we need now is for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket system to become “human rated” and we could see the first routine commercial launches of US astronauts before the Constellation Program is even rolled out onto the launchpad. Very exciting times

Source: Universe Today, SpaceX

6 responses to “SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Awarded NASA Contracts: $3.5 Billion Total

  1. Pingback: SpaceX Falcon 9 Fully Integrated at Cape Canaveral | astroengine.com

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