Feeds

NASA inks commercial ISS cargo deals

Going rate - $87,000 per kilo

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

NASA has announced the award of two multibillion dollar contracts for commercial companies to lift cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) in the post-Shuttle era. Deals have been inked with former PayPal kingpin Elon Musk's SpaceX venture, and with Orbital Sciences Corporation of Virginia.

SpaceX art of a Dragon cargo module docking with the ISS

That will be $133 million dollars, sir

“The SpaceX team is honored to have been selected by NASA as the winner of the Cargo Resupply Services contract,” said Musk. “This is a tremendous responsibility.”

“The CRS program will serve as a showcase for the types of commercial services U.S. space companies can offer NASA," added Orbital's David Thompson.

The deals announced yesterday will see each of the two companies lifting 20 tonnes to the ISS. SpaceX will use its planned Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, and Orbital intends to develop its Taurus II medium-lift rocket carrying a Cygnus spacecraft. Both companies will deliver both pressurised and unpressurised cargoes to the station.

NASA estimates that it will wind up spending a total of $3.5bn on the two Commercial Resupply Services deals, with the proportion of cash going to each company depending on how well that company's programme goes. At present, the flight schedule calls for eight flights for "about $1.9bn" from Orbital, and 12 flights for "about $1.6bn" from SpaceX. These figures could change, however, in the event of delays or mishaps at either company.

SpaceX has recently achieved a successful orbital flight with its inaugural Falcon 1 rocket on the fourth attempt. Orbital says it has conducted 54 launch missions since 1990. These have mostly been small satellites boosted by the Pegasus rocket, which is launched from a modified TriStar airliner at 40,000 feet.

Overall, each kilo of cargo delivered to the station by commercial resupply will cost NASA $87,500. The Shuttle was said to carry stuff to orbit for $44,000 per kg, but that didn't include development costs. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.