NASA and its Commercial Crew Program announced new agreements with three American commercial companies to design and develop the next generation of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities, enabling a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years.
Advances made by these companies under newly signed Space Act Agreements through the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are intended to ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for government and commercial customers.
SpaceX’s crewed Dragon will get more lift capability from the next-generation of Falcon rockets. The uncrewed version of Dragon recently made history as the first commercially built spacecraft to rendezvous and then berth with the International Space Station.
Sierra Nevada Corporation will advance its Dream Chaser spacecraft, which resembles NASA’s space shuttle but is smaller and based on improvements to the agency’s HL-20 lifting-body design. The company partnered with United Launch Alliance to launch its spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket.
Boeing will continue to develop its CST-100 spacecraft, which underwent rigorous testing during two previous commercial crew development phases. It too will launch atop an Atlas V.