HOUSTON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A new passenger-carrying spacecraft is to be built for NASA as part of the agency's plan to resume U.S.-based flights to space by 2017.
Boeing said the contract it is to receive is for the Crew Space Transportation-100, which will carry as many as seven people plus cargo.
The spacecraft will be for used for International Space Station missions and for transport to other low-Earth orbit destinations.
"Boeing has been part of every American human space flight program, and we're honored that NASA has chosen us to continue that legacy," said John Elbon, Boeing vice president and general manager, Space Exploration. "The CST-100 offers NASA the most cost-effective, safe and innovative solution to U.S.-based access to low-Earth orbit."
Under the contract Boeing will build three CST-100s. Construction will take place at the company's Commercial Crew Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The spacecraft will undergo a pad-abort test in 2016 and perform an unmanned flight in early 2017.
Boeing said its CST-100 recently completed the critical design review and phase two spacecraft safety review, becoming the only competitor for NASA's Commercial Crew program to pass a CDR and CCiCap milestones on time and on budget.
"The challenge of a CDR is to ensure all the pieces and sub-systems are working together," said John Mulholland, Boeing Commercial Crew program manager. "Integration of these systems is key. Now we look forward to bringing the CST-100 to life."