News Ticker

NASA selects four key commercial partners for improved spaceflight

According to a NASA statement, on December 23, the agency released the names of the four American companies selected for future developmental collaborations. The companies were chosen under the auspices of the Collaborators for Commercial Space Capabilities program, which facilities industry access to NASA’s spaceflight resources. The products of the partnerships will be made available to governmental and non-governmental entities within the next five years.

The four companies that have been chosen are the following: ATK Space Systems of Beltsville, Maryland, which is space transportation capacity; Final Frontier Design of Brooklyn, New York, which is developing space suits for intra-vehicular operations; Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, California, which is developing space transportation means that could be used to facilitate future deep space missions; and United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, which is developing new, less expensive launch vehicles with greater performance.

“These awards demonstrate the diversity and maturity of the commercial space industry. We look forward to working with these partners to advance space capabilities and make them available to NASA and other customers in the coming years,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight at NASA. Although NASA will contribute expertise, technology, evaluations and the resultant data and insights, it is up to the four companies to cover the costs of their collaboration with NASA.

NASA is building a slate of commercial partners in other programs as well. Recently, the agency chose three companies to take part in the Lunar CATALYST program to develop commercial lunar landers. NASA chose 18 proposed studies under its Asteroid Redirect Mission Broad Agency Announcement, which will contribute to the agency’s initiative to ensnare, redirect, and eventually send manned missions to an asteroid.

NASA has cultivated commercial relationships to resupply and transport astronauts to the International Space Station. On Sept. 16, 2014, NASA announced that it had chosen Boeing and SpaceX to develop means of ferrying American astronauts between Earth and the station within this decade. NASA’s partnerships with commercial enterprises allow the agency to concentrate more on developing technologies for its future deep-space missions, including the Orion crew capsule and the heavy-lift Space Launch System.

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald

Staff Writer
Andrew McDonald, PhD is a vertebrate paleontologist and writer. He received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, and continues to study dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.
About Andrew McDonald (727 Articles)
Andrew McDonald, PhD is a vertebrate paleontologist and writer. He received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, and continues to study dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.