NASA has signed Space Act Agreements with three firms, worth a combined $1.1 billion, to continue designing and developing new commercial space transportation vehicles.
The agency said the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability program aims to launch astronauts from the U.S. within the next five years and extend commercial human spaceflight services to government and commercial customers.
Boeing is set to receive $460 million to continue work on its CST-100 spacecraft, launch services and ground systems.
Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, will receive $440 million and Sierra Nevada Corp. will receive $212.5 million.
William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the agency’s human exploration and operations mission directorate, said U.S. firms and NASA have collaborated on several programs over the past 50 years.
CCICap originated from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, with the goal of providing travel to and from the International Space Station and low Earth orbit.
It starts a new chapter for commercial human space transportation where industry partners are tasked with building crew transportation capabilities with the same qualities as fully integrated systems.
The agency is also developing the Orion MPCV and Space Launch System, with the goal of providing crew and cargo mission deployment on various locations within the solar system.