NASA picks companies to study commercial crew transport

February 2nd, 2010 - 8:27 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 2 (DPA) US space agency NASA Monday named five aerospace companies to come up with concepts for transporting humans into orbit under plans announced by the Obama administration to shift responsibility for transportation into space to private firms.NASA awarded a total of $50 million to the companies to study human spaceflight alternatives after the retirement of the space shuttle later this year. The money comes from government stimulus funds authorized by Congress to jump-start the faltering US

economy last year.

Earlier Monday, the Obama administration said it hoped to axe existing plans for the Constellation programme, to create a new spacecraft and rockets to replace the shuttle and return to the moon. Instead it announced plans for commercial companies to ferry

astronauts into low-earth orbit.

The companies are Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Sierra Nevada Corporation and United Launch Alliance. The agreements are to develop ideas about carrying crew and investigating future commercial spaceflight.

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