NASA announces space work awards

April 18, 2011 at 8:15 PM

GREENBELT, Md., April 18 (UPI) -- NASA says it has awarded $267.3 million to four companies to develop commercial crew space transportation systems.

Each company will receive between $22 million and $92.3 million to advance the design and development of elements of their systems, such as launch vehicles and spacecraft, a NASA release said Monday.

The companies chosen under the agency's Commercial Crew Development effort and their awards are: Blue Origin, Kent, Wash., $22 million; Sierra Nevada Corp., Louisville, Colo., $80 million; Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, Calif., $75 million; and The Boeing Co., Houston, $92.3 million.

"The next American-flagged vehicle to carry our astronauts into space is going to be a U.S. commercial provider," Ed Mango, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager, said. "The partnerships NASA is forming with industry will support the development of multiple American systems capable of providing future access to low-Earth orbit."

The goal of the awards is to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capability, NASA said.

"We're committed to safely transporting U.S. astronauts on American-made spacecraft and ending the outsourcing of this work to foreign governments," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "These agreements are significant milestones in NASA's plans to take advantage of American ingenuity to get to low-Earth orbit, so we can concentrate our resources on deep space exploration."

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