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NASA Space Science Technology

NASA Splits $1.1B For Three Commercial Spacecraft 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the paying-others-to-do-the-heavy-lifting dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA today continued its development of commercial space systems by splitting a little over $1.1 billion with Boeing, Space Exploration Technologies (Space X) and Sierra Nevada to develop and build advanced spaceships. 'Today's awards give a huge advantage to the three companies that got them, because competitors will need to fund their own development in its entirety. On the other hand, by partnering with the competitors, NASA has managed to seed the development of five different manned space vehicles for under $1B so far, a leap forward for the evolving space passenger market. They've paid for it on a reward-for-progress basis, handing out pre-agreed amounts of money for each specified milestone. SpaceX was well ahead of the other two competitors because of the unmanned Dragon, which has already berthed with the International Space Station. The company has borne the brunt of the development costs itself, putting in about $300 million of its own money in addition to about $75 million from NASA.'"
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NASA Splits $1.1B For Three Commercial Spacecraft

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  • Bittersweet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:27AM (#40867801) Journal

    On one hand, I am glad to see how much private sector interest there is in space exploration and tourism. Ultimately, it will be commericialization and profit opportunity that propels mankind to the stars.

    OTOH, the reason we are seeing so much of it now is that the US has given up its leadership position in science. I'm not saying we aren't still on the top of the heap, but while Republicans and Democrats argue about whether we should drive ourselves into debt funding the military or social programs, science funding has suffered. When 50% of GDP growth since WW2 has come directly from science, this short-sighted non-funding view will cripple us.

    Ultimately, there are projects where profits cannot be privatized. In these instances, government funding is the only way to go. But this doesn't get votes, so we are stuck.

    Cynically Yours,
    MyLongNickName

  • Re:Bittersweet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday August 03, 2012 @10:56AM (#40868155)

    Population growth.

  • "Picking winners" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:10AM (#40868319)

    Right-wing stupidity is strong today. Must be something in the water supply.

    There are lots of people whingeing and whining and complaining about governments "picking winners".

    You just can't win with these stupid, vindictive pricks. If you have it contracted out, it's socialism and pork-barrelling. If you then turn around and try to appease the right-wing neoliberal extremists by designing a good, functioning market for US government rides to orbit, then you're "picking winners".

    The stupidity and hyprocrisy with the nutjob Nazi Right is breathtaking.

  • This is huge (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Friday August 03, 2012 @11:19AM (#40868431) Journal
    We now have the top runners earning this. These companies make the most sense. These were certainly the ones that I was hoping for, but I think that most wanted/expected this. With this approach, it gives us 3 human launchers.

    Now, the real issue is that the neo-cons oppose this. They have put all sorts of pressure on NASA to NOT do this. They wanted cst-100 from Boeing to get 1, Liberty (atk/europe/boeing) to get 1, and then ULA/L-Mart to get .5. Basically, they wanted to cut out ANY of the new space. No doubt we will be hearing cries from the house that his was not suppose to have happened and that they will attempt to punish NASA in many ways on this one.

    Now, what is IMPORTANT is to back Bigelow and get their closet added to the ISS in the next year or two. That will allow them to put up their private space stations quickly. In addition, private space, esp. SpaceX, needs to get human launch in 2014. By doing that, it will enable us to run 7 at the ISS, and will allow BA to finally get ready for their private space station. Finally, SpaceX's FH really needs to fly. Once it does, then BA will have no issues with putting up their BA-330 cheaply, but could also put up a much larger station built just for the FH.

    So much growth possibilities and yet, I am betting that before the end of this year, the neo-cons will be attacking NASA hard core for not doing their will and sending all the jobs to their districts.

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