NASA awards billion-dollar contracts to Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada for human spaceflight program


NASA announced three new multimillion-dollar commercial contracts Wednesday related to the development of human spaceflight for government and commercial purposes. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

NASA has awarded three companies contracts related to the agency’s development of the next generation of human space flight.

The announcement was made Wednesday via a news release on the NASA Web site. The three companies are Sierra Nevada Corp. in Colorado, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in California and Boeing in Texas.

Sierra Nevada’s contract total is $212.5 million, SpaceX was awarded $440 million and Boeing $460 million. The companies will be working on Space Act Agreements via the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative. The effort was created to make commercial space flight available for both the federal government and commercial customers.

The three companies will perform tests and work on designs for manned spaceflight between now and May 31, 2014, with the goal of sending crewed demonstration missions into low-Earth orbit by the middle of the decade.

“The benefits to humanity from these endeavors are incalculable,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, in a statement. “We’re counting on the creativity of industry to provide the next generation of transportation to low-Earth orbit and expand human presence, making space accessible and open for business.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) congratulated Sierra Nevada for their award win saying via a press release, “This will also be a catalyst for Colorado kids' interest in studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), so that they can be part of this next generation of space travel."

The contract size for SpaceX significantly dwarfs the company’s first space science mission contract award under the launch services program. That contract is worth an estimated $82 million. At the time, it was also announced that Colorado-based United Launch Services was awarded a $412 million contract for soil moisture and climate missions.

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