WASHINGTON — Boeing Co. garnered the largest of four NASA Space Act Agreement awards designed to nurture the development of commercially operated astronaut transport systems, landing a deal worth $92.3 million to refine the design of its CST-100 crew capsule, the U.S. space agency announced April 18.
The other winners of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) 2 awards are: Blue Origin, $22 million; Sierra Nevada Corp., $80 million; and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (), $75 million. The awards are intended to help the companies refine their concepts for transporting astronauts to and from the international space station on a commercial basis.
With the exception of SpaceX, all of the selected companies received NASA funding under the first round of CCDev awards, made in 2009. SpaceX is already under contract to develop and provide a commercial logistics service for the space station.
NASA received 22 CCDev 2 bids from industry in December. Among the bidders not selected for second round awards are: Alliant Techsystems, Orbital Sciences Corp.,and United Space Alliance.
“We’re committed to safely transporting U.S. astronauts on American-made spacecraft and ending the outsourcing of this work to foreign governments,” NASA Administrator Charlessaid in a prepared statement. “These agreements are significant milestones in NASA’s plans to take advantage of American ingenuity to get to low-Earth orbit, so we can concentrate our resources on deep space exploration.”
Ed Mango, manager of NASA’s commercial crew program, said in a statement that the space agency will support the development of multiple U.S. astronaut transport systems that will be available to government and commercial customers.
In a press release, Boeing said it would use the CCDev 2 funding to reduce risk on its Crew Space Transportation (CST) -100 capsule. “We are combining lessons learned and best practices from commercial airplanes, satellites and launch systems with those from human spaceflight programs such as the space shuttle and the International Space Station to design, deliver and fly the CST-100 in 2015,” John Elbon, vice president and program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew Programs, said in a prepared statement.