NASA Awards $269 Million to Four Companies in CCDev Round 2

NASA Awards $269 Million to Four Companies in CCDev Round 2

NASA announced today four new Space Act Agreements with Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, SpaceX and Boeing in the second round of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2) competition. The awards total $269.3 million.

The goal of the CCDev program is for the government to facilitate the commercial development of spacecraft and launch vehicles to take astronauts to and from low Earth orbit (LEO), including the International Space Station (ISS). Instead of NASA contracting for and overseeing these development efforts, it is providing some funding while the companies are expected to provide the rest of the funds themselves — so-called “skin in the game.” Eventually NASA would buy crew transportation services from any successful companies, who presumably would be offering crew space transportation to other customers as well.

The debate over whether NASA should rely on commercial companies for LEO crew transportation has been and remains a subject of intense debate in space policy circles.

NASA hopes at least two companies will succeed so it can benefit from pricing competition and also have a backup if one of the systems fails and is grounded for a lengthy period of time.

The awards today are as follows:

— Blue Origin, Kent, Wash., $22 million
— Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colo., $80 million
— Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, Calif., $75 million
— The Boeing Company, Houston, $92.3 million

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