Newspace shoots, & scores!

Dream Chaser, a shuttle replacement vehicle under development by Sierra Nevada Corporation (NYSE ticker symbol SNC)

NASA announced today it would dole out a billion dollars to three newspace firms in an effort to accelerate development of a man-rated spacecraft.  And without further adieu ado, the winners are:

Popular Mechanics— Boeing: NASA awarded the aerospace giant the largest slice of the prize ($460 million) to build its CST-100 capsule. It’s the largest company on the list, which probably didn’t hurt, since one of the mandates of the CCiCap initiative. Boeing is also partnered with Lockheed Martin in United Launch Alliance; ULA builds the Atlas V rocket that will blast not only Boeing’s but also Sierra Nevada’s spacecraft into orbit.

SpaceX: No surprise that SpaceX got a big chunk of NASA dollars ($440 million); Elon Musk’s firm has been out ahead of the other private space companies. This year it became the first company to privately launch into space and dock with the International Space Station. It was also the first to put a capsule into orbit and then return it to the Earth.

Sierra Nevada: The firm behind the Dream Chaser space plane got the “half award,” or $212.5 million. They should start testing it sometime this year.

The losers? Pretty much everyone else. At least for this round. And speaking of losers, I’m happy for this, I have friends in the industry and see newspace as the only viable forward on any timescale involving the remaining life spans of people my age. But it didn’t go unnoticed that I’m in the pit of Texas in the hellish August heat working a dead-end job for minimum survival peanuts while incredibly exciting and inspirational things are happening elsewhere.


  1. Sunday Afternoon says

    I would like to have some witty comment regarding without further adieu, but I don’t.

    It should be “ado”.

    Still, I like the thought of “without further farewell”!

  2. says

    “without further adieu” Sorry, I have my nitpicker’s hat on, that ‘eggcorn’ implies you are into short goodbyes. It should be “without further ado” as in Francis Bacon’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing—Which is what this comment is.

  3. left0ver1under says

    It’s a losing deal regardless of who “wins”. Manned missions cost several times what unmanned missions do, and they run with the risk of death. Machines are expendable and cheaper.

  4. davidmc says

    “in the pit of Texas in the hellish August heat working a dead-end job for minimum survival peanuts”


  5. sailor1031 says

    Since all these private sphere corporations will have to make (large) profits, how is this better for us than letting NASA do it? If the market’s so great they shouldn’t need public money! Or will it be repaid? We should certainly expect Boeing/Lockheed-Martin to finance their own space program – don’t you think?

  6. F says

    Hi sailor1031

    how is this better for us than letting NASA do it?

    Er, that is how NASA does it.

  7. M Groesbeck says

    @5 —

    Relying on the private sector for space development (which will, as soon as feasible, be in exchange for exclusive rights to any and all non-Earth matter for mining, colonization, rule, etc.) adds market value to outer space, which is of course the only important measure of success for any venture. The sooner we can privatize the rest of the universe, the higher the total value of existence will be!

  8. birgerjohansson says

    The shuttle in the image looks very similar to a prototype Soviet-era mini-shuttle.

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