Boeing, SpaceX Win CCtCAP Contracts

Boeing, SpaceX Win CCtCAP Contracts

Boeing and SpaceX are the two winners of Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts, NASA announced today (September 16).  NASA hopes that through those awards, a U.S. crew space transportation capability will be ready to take astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, ending U.S. dependence on Russia for ISS transport services.

The two companies will share $6.8 billion:  Boeing gets $4.2 billion, while SpaceX gets $2.6 billion.  When asked why Boeing is receiving a substantially larger amount, NASA commercial crew program manager Kathy Lueders said only that the awards were based on the proposals that were submitted and both companies proposed to the same set of requirements.

The funding is for the final phase of the commercial crew program which includes final development and certification of the systems, at least one demonstration flight to the ISS carrying at least one NASA crew member, between two and six additional flights to the ISS, and “special studies.”

The awards were announced at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), FL by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, KSC Director Bob Cabana, Lueders, and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke representing the astronaut corps.  Leuders held a teleconference after the press conference to provide further details.

CCtCAP is the final phase of NASA’s commercial crew program, a public-private partnership where both the government and private sector companies are paying to develop new systems to take astronauts to and from the ISS, with the government providing the market to purchase the resulting services from the companies.   Currently, the United States pays Russia about $450 million per year to take NASA astronauts to and from ISS.  The United States has not been able to launch astronauts into space since it terminated the space shuttle program in 2011.

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