Feeds

NASA hands out $millions to wannabe spaceship builders

Outsourced space podules and minishuttle score moolah

Security for virtualized datacentres

NASA has stuck its hands far into its pockets of the third development round of the Commercial Crew programme, giving hundreds of millions to SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

The funding will help put the firms (further) ahead of their competitors in the race for manned craft jollies and cheap science expeditions in space.

SpaceX was an obvious choice for its $440m award, having already successfully berthed a cargoship, the Dragon, with the International Space Station.

Elon Musk's space firm will also pocket a hefty wedge of NASA's cash when it takes over cargo deliveries to the ISS later this year under a $1.6bn resupply contract.

The company has already started work adapting the Dragon to carry 'nauts, with NASA handing over $75m for that last year, and 2015 has been bandied about as the likely first launch date for the manned version, nicknamed the Dragonrider.

Boeing nabbed a similar slice of the space agency pie, taking $460m towards its CST-100 spaceships, which have had some tests but no big milestones yet.

Sierra Nevada took a smaller share, with $212.5m going towards its Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle, the only winged offering ampng the CCDev contenders. The craft has had a first captive carry flight already and has an approach and landing test scheduled for later this year.

Although it's not as aspirational to hand out money to companies to achieve the next wave of manned missions, it does seem to be paying off for NASA. While the agency works on its own Orion deep space capsule, and works to convince itself it can afford its Space Launch System mega-rocket, bread-and-butter operations with the space station will be carried out far more cheaply by subcontractors. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.