NASA announces $1.1B in commercial crew awards

Boeing, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corp. chosen by space agency

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA on Friday named The Boeing Co., SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp. as the winners of a combined $1.1 billion to complete designs of commercial spacecraft that could launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017.

Boeing and SpaceX were given "full" awards, worth $460 million and $440 million respectively, for the period running through May 2014.

Sierra Nevada received a "half" award worth $212.5 million.

The new funding follows two earlier rounds known as the Commercial Crew Development program. The next phase is called Commercial Crew Integrated Capability, or CCiCap. It will develop fully integrated systems rather than individual components.

All three companies are developing systems that would launch from Cape Canaveral.

Boeing's CST-100 capsule and Sierra Nevada's winged Dream Chaser would launch atop United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket.

SpaceX's Dragon, an unmanned version of which has already flown to the station, would launch on the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

The announcement means at least one other company that made a strong push for an award, ATK, lost its bid.

Once the base period is complete, NASA could execute additional optional milestones the companies were asked to propose that would culminate in a crewed orbital demonstration flight, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

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