Boeing, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Make The Cut For Commercial Crew

By Jefferson Morris jeff_morris@aviationweek.com, Frank Morring, Jr. . morring@aviationweek.com .
Source: AWIN First .

NASA plans to spread $1.1 billion in seed money among Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada to continue the development of commercial spacecraft to launch crews to the International Space Station as early as 2017. The three companies, all chosen to negotiate Space Act Agreements (SAAs) for the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) seed-money effort, have very different approaches to the task of transporting up to seven astronauts to and from orbit. Boeing’s relatively simple, battery-powered CST-100 capsule would launch on an Atlas V — which still must be human-rated for the task — and return for a ground landing slowed by parachutes and cushioned by airbags. SpaceX is developing a human-rated version of its Dragon capsule, which already visited the station for an unmanned cargo delivery demonstration earlier this year, boosted by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, and returned for an ocean splashdown ...

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