NASA has signed agreements with three US companies to develop designs for space stations and other commercial destinations in space. The agreements are part of the agency’s efforts to enable a robust US-led commercial economy in low Earth orbit.
The total estimated award amount for the three funded Space Act Agreements is $ 415.6 million . The contracted companies are: Blue Origin, for 130 million dollars; Nanoracks, for $ 160 million; and Northrop Grumman, for $ 125.6 million.
NASA seeks to maintain an uninterrupted US presence in low Earth orbit by transitioning from the International Space Station (ISS) to other platforms. These awards will stimulate the US private sector development of independent commercial space stations that will be available to both government and private sector customers.
“Building on our successful initiatives to partner with private industry to deliver cargo, and now our NASA astronauts, to the ISS, NASA is once again leading the way to commercialize space activities,” said the administrator of the agency, Bill Nelson. “With commercial companies now providing transportation to low Earth orbit, we are partnering with American companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live and work, allowing NASA to continue to forge a path in space in benefit of humanity, while promoting commercial activity in space.
I’m a science journalist and host of Cosmic Controversy (brucedorminey.podbean.com) as well as author of “Distant Wanderers: the Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System.” I primarily cover aerospace and astronomy. I’m a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper who has reported from six continents. A 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA), I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize winners and written about everything from potato blight to dark energy. Previously, I was a film and arts correspondent in New York and Europe, primarily for newspaper outlets like the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and Canada’s Globe & Mail. Recently, I’ve contributed to Scientific American.com, Nature News, Physics World, and Yale Environment 360.com. I’m a current contributor to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope and a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Twitter @bdorminey