The Wall Street Journal is pre-empting today’s historic announcement concerning NASA’s commercial crew vehicle contract for transporting astronauts and equipment to the International Space Station on non-NASA vehicles. According to the WSJ the $1 billion funding prize will mostly go to SpaceX and Boeing–with Sierra Nevada as a backup candidate should either of the two front-runners suffer technical or other mishaps that prevent timely development of crew-capable vehicles.
Boeing is, of course, an old hand at this and has been developing a crew capsule that it salvaged from the abandoned NASA-led Moon and Mars programme called Constellation. SpaceX created history recently by docking its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to the ISS. It showed off its human-rated Dragon Rider system recently, noting that it’s not much different to the tech successfully demonstrated with the first Dragon mission to the space station.
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