According to a recent announcement by NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has selected the four commercial US aerospace firms that will help in efforts to develop new space technologies as part of NASA’s Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC) initiative.
NASA previously released a statement noting that the CCSC initiative was specifically founded as a way of partnering with private sector industry to “develop new space capabilities” through the use of the agency’s spaceflight resources and to share any forthcoming services and products commercially with government and non-government customers alike within five years.
Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA Headquarters in Washington, told the press: “Companies in all shapes and sizes are investing their own capital toward innovative commercial space capabilities.”
The quartet of companies culled for the CCSC initiative is: United Launch Alliance, Final Frontier Design, ATK Space Systems, and Space Exploration Technologies (also known as SpaceX). Each has its own special task to complete.
United Launch Alliance, based in Centennial, Colorado, is developing high performance, cost-effective launch vehicle capabilities. Brooklyn, New York’s Final Frontier Design is designing space suits for intra-vehicular activity.
ATK Space Systems, from Beltsville, Maryland, is focusing on space transportation capabilities and space logistics. SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, is working on transportation capabilities in support of deep space missions. Partnerships such as the CCSC are actually nothing new for NASA. In fact, NASA has funded numerous initiatives over the past years. According to Space Insider the list includes:
Lunar CATALYST, which hopes to develop a “commercial robotic lunar lander”, Commercial Orbital Transportation Services and Commercial Resupply Services which standardizes cargo and handles the delivery of supplies by various private corporations to the ISS (the International Space Station and Commercial Crew Program which seeks to involve commercial companies in the transportation of astronauts to the ISS.
McAlister concluded: “These (four) awards demonstrate the diversity and maturity of the commercial space industry. We look forward to working with these partners to advance space capabilities and make them available to NASA and other customers in the coming years.”
NASA Chooses 4 Partners For Spaceflights