BY CHRIS RIGHTMIRE
It has been over a year since the last space shuttle mission, and since then NASA has not put a person in space on an American spacecraft. To fix this situation, NASA made a $1.1 billion grant yesterday to three private companies to help change that, and to potentially usher in an era of privatized space exploration.
The grants went to Boeing, SpaceX, and Sierra Nevada Corp, and are a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The grants will be paid out over a 21 month span, according to Wired.com
Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, told 9news.com, “The announcement is really a validation by NASA that our design and our program is something that can be taken to the end result, which is to provide service to and from the International Space Station.”
According to Fox news, Sierra Nevada will get $212.5 million, SpaceX will receive $440 million, and Boeing will receive $460 million.
NASA Chief Charles Bolden said, “The ultimate goal of our commercial crew program is to bring American space launches right back here to American soil.”
NASA’s Commerical Crew Program was developed in 2010 when President Barrack Obama set the agency on a course to provide new transportation into space for its astronauts. The program is designed to provide reliable and cost-effective transportation to the international space station and low-earth orbit, according to NASA’s website.