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    NASA awards Colorado company space taxi grant

    NASA
    NASA (Photo credit: Luke Bryant)

    Sierra Nevada Space Systems received one of three NASA grants to develop a privatized space flight industry.

    The Ventura County Star reports that the grant will total $212 million for the “Dream Chaser Space System team.”

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    The team is:

    part of NASA’s effort to return the United States to manned space flights. The grant will make it possible for Sierra Nevada Space Systems to use its Dream Chaser Program for a manned orbital demonstration flight.

    According to KKTV 11, the grant is the third phase of NASA’s plan to have the private sector replace space shuttles to transport astronauts to the International Space Station.

    Once the spaceships are built, NASA plans to hire the private companies to taxi astronauts into space within five years. Until they are ready, NASA is paying Russia to do the job.

    The two other companies to receive the grants are Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in California and Boeing. SpaceX will get $440 million and Boeing will receive $460 million according to the Wall Street Journal.

     writes:

    The three companies will perform tests and work on designs for manned spaceflight between now and May 31, 2014, with the goal of sending crewed demonstration missions into low-Earth orbit by the middle of the decade.

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