The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Tuesday that The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, popularly known as Space X, are the two companies that have won a $6.8 billion contract to develop a means to the International Space Station. The third company, Sierra Nevada Corporation, that also contended for the contract was locked out of the deal.
In the new revelations, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation will help build the space craft as a way to stem the overreliance on transportation services offered by Russia, a country currently at loggerheads with several countries over the Ukraine crisis.
Marco Caceres, director of space studies at Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant Teal Group said that it’s very possible for Russia to wake up and just say that they aren’t taking U.S. astronauts to space anymore. He therefore clarified that the U.S. had to act fast because such an eventuality might throw the U.S. space activities into a quagmire.
Besides the growing fear of a possible Russia withdrawal of spacecraft services, the reliance on Russia is also expensive for the U.S. in the long run. Currently the U.S. parts with $71 million per astronaut transported to the International Space Craft.
“From Day 1, the Obama administration has made it clear that the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on other nations to get into space,”
said administrator Charles Bolden in announcing the deal Tuesday.
Administrator Bolden made it clear that giving the deal to The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, which are private companies, is a great step as NASA will now focus on the bigger picture of taking people to Mars.
NASA further revealed that the said funding will be shared between the two companies with The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) getting a maximum of $4.2 billion while Space Exploration Technologies Corporation gets $2.6 billion.
If everything goes as planned, the first spacecrafts could start transporting astronauts to space in 2017.