Aerospace giant Boeing is expected to beat space transport services company SpaceX to a lucrative US$3bn contract with US space agency NASA to provide its future ‘space taxi’ craft.
NASA has been looking to outsource the production of a re-useable spacecraft that will allow it to send and return astronauts into Earth’s orbit on a cost-efficient and easily maintainable basis.
The two companies have been busy developing their own spacecraft that could provide the service, with Boeing developing the CST-100 that could be available by next year, while SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has already agreed to a deal with NASA to bring supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), according to The Wall Street Journal.
While the contract is still officially ‘up in the air’, sources who work within the aerospace and government sectors told the newspaper ‘space taxis’ could begin taking astronauts into space as early as 2017.
Despite the surprise surrounding Boeing’s seemingly imminent signing of the multi-billion-dollar deal, the aerospace company has been working with NASA for a number of decades, developing its rocketry.