National Press Club

NASA Explains Private Partnership Deals for Transportation Needs

February 3, 2010 | By Tejinder Singh |

The U.S. will rely on the nation's aerospace contractors to fill the gap when NASA's shuttle program ends later this year, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced at a Newsmaker Feb. 2.

"We may soon have the prospect of multiple providers of space transportation,” he said.

"This would ensure that we have safe reliable redundant domestic capability. We do not have this today, which is the crux of our dependence on our Russian partners and the Soyuz space craft,” Bolden said.

Bolden announced NASA is distributing $50 million in grant money to five companies to design the rockets, the spacecraft or the systems they use to get astronauts into space safely: Blue Origin, $3.7 million; Boeing, $18 million; Paragon Space Development Corp., $1.4 million; United Launch Alliance, Centennial Co., $6.7 million; and Sierra Nevada Corp.. $20 million.

On the question of the cancellation of the Constellation Program, Bolden said the shift is essential for NASA. Bolden said getting over the cancellation of a program is not easy. "To people who are working on these programs, this is like a death in the family. Give them time to grieve and give them time to recover," Bolden said.