"From day one, the Obama Administration made clear that
the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on
other nations to get into space," NASA Administrator
Charlie Bolden said at the agency's Kennedy Space
Center in Florida.
"Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, the hard
work of our NASA and industry teams, and support from
Congress, today we are one step closer to launching our
astronauts from U.S.
soil on American spacecraft and ending the nation’s sole
reliance on Russia by 2017.
Turning over low-Earth orbit transportation to private
industry will also allow NASA to focus on an even more
ambitious mission, sending humans to Mars."
These Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap)
contracts are designed to complete the NASA
certification for human space transportation systems
capable of carrying people into orbit. Once
certification is complete, NASA plans to use these
systems to ferry astronauts to the International Space
Station and return them safely to Earth.
The companies selected to provide this transportation
capability and the maximum potential value of their
FAR-based firm fixed-price contracts are:
-- The Boeing Company, Houston, $4.2 billion
-- Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne,
California, $2.6 billion
The contracts include at least one crewed flight test
per company with at least one NASA astronaut aboard to
verify the fully integrated rocket and spacecraft system
can launch, maneuver in orbit, and dock to the space
station, as well as validate all its systems perform as
Once each company’s test program has been completed
successfully and its system achieves NASA certification,
each contractor will conduct at least two, and as many
as six, crewed missions to the space station. These
spacecraft also will serve as a lifeboat for astronauts
aboard the station.
NASA's Commercial Crew Program will implement this
capability as a public-private partnership with the
American aerospace companies. NASA's expert team of
engineers and spaceflight specialists is facilitating
and certifying the development work of industry partners
to ensure new spacecraft are safe and reliable.
missions to the International Space Station following
certification will allow the station's current crew of
six to grow, enabling the crew to conduct more research
aboard the unique microgravity laboratory.
The companies will own and operate the crew
transportation systems and be able to sell human space
transportation services to other customers in addition
to NASA, thereby reducing the costs for all customers.
"By encouraging private companies to handle launches
to low-Earth orbit -- a region NASA's been visiting
since 1962 -- the nation's space agency can focus on
getting the most research and experience out of
America's investment in the International Space
Station. NASA also can focus on building spacecraft
and rockets for deep space missions, including
flights to Mars."