From: Space Frontier Foundation
Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) congratulated Boeing and SpaceX on their selection as the next U.S. human spaceflight providers, and declared victory in a 20-year-long battle to open the space station transportation market to commercial services. SFF also congratulated NASA for ensuring a competitive marketplace while setting an aggressive timetable for the return of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities.
"The Space Frontier Foundation has pushed for commercial transportation of crew and cargo since 1995, when Rick Tumlinson testified in front of Congress calling for transportation to and from space to be exclusively commercially provided," said Foundation President James Pura, "It only took 19 more years, but this is a major victory for us, and for the entire space industry, because it shows that our government is committed to supporting and growing commercial competition in the space industry. This is one more step towards space becoming accessible to all of humanity."
The Commercial Crew Program, an outgrowth of the highly successful COTS program, was established to empower private companies to take the lead in America's manned spaceflight. After several years and numerous contenders, today's announcement seals the multi-billion dollar contract. Boeing has been awarded $4.2 billion, with SpaceX receiving $2.6 billion to gear up for demonstration flights to the International Space Station beginning as soon as 2017.
"Very soon, U.S. astronauts will be riding to the International Space Station in spaceships made in the United States once again," said Foundation Policy Director Aaron Oesterle, "Now whenever one of these spacecraft flies by overhead, they will be helping us grow a new American spaceflight industry. This is an important catalyst in developing, opening and settling the frontier. It's a win for Boeing, for SpaceX, for NASA, and for the American People."
The decision to use commercial companies for national human spaceflight marks a departure from NASA's traditional route, and has been lauded by the spaceflight community as the more efficient and cost effective decision. It is hoped that Boeing and SpaceX will not only serve as a taxi for US astronauts, but will compete to carry other paying passengers to other space facilities in LEO and beyond. The Space Frontier Foundation, a long-time advocate for the human settlement of space, believes the lower costs resulting from the competitive marketplace that these contracts help create, will lead to dramatically lower prices and accelerate access to many other destinations throughout the solar system.
"Today's announcement is proof that our best days in space are not behind us...we are now in the first days of the next great human adventure," said Foundation President James Pura, "This country is built on ideas and visions of hard working Americans willing to put in the effort to create a greater future. The government playing the role of initial investor in those ideas and visions, as we saw today, is proof that we are a people who believe in the quest to open the space frontier for all of humanity - in our lifetime."
The Space Frontier Foundation would like to extend its warmest congratulations to Boeing and SpaceX for their years of hard work and dedication to the Commercial Crew Program, and looks forward to seeing CTS-100 and Dragon flying American astronauts in the near future.
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