NASA picks companies to envision future spaceflight

Bigelow space complex

An artist’s conception shows three Bigelow Aerospace B330 modules linked together to create a space station being serviced by SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. Such a configuration would provide as much pressurized volume as the International Space Station. (Bigelow Aerospace Illustration)

Thirteen companies, including Boeing and Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture, will be doing studies for NASA on the future of commercial human spaceflight in low Earth orbit.

All of the studies are due in December, and are supposed to cost no more than $1 million each. NASA still has to negotiate the contract amounts with the study groups, but it expects the total cost of the effort to come in at around $11 million.

The exercise is in line with NASA’s initiative to commercialize low-Earth-orbit operations by 2025. The options include handing over of the International Space Station to commercial management, or creating brand-new orbital outposts.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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