Boeing and SpaceX Win Contracts to Carry Americans to Space Station
Kenneth Chang | New York Times | 16 September 2014
Boeing and the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation are the winners in the competition to carry Americans astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA announced Tuesday.
The first flights could take off as soon as 2017.
Boeing received a $4.2 billion contract. Space Exploration Technologies – better known as SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif. – received a $2.6 billion contract.
A third company under consideration, Sierra Nevada Space Systems of Louisville, Colo., was left out.
Each company is to run a test flight to the space station, and after the systems receive NASA certification, each company will launch at least two and as many as six missions to the space station.
The awards reflect a fundamental shift in NASA’s human spaceflight program, relying on private companies rather than the traditional hands-on approach in which the space agency designed and operated the spacecraft.
The hope is that the commercial approach will spur a space travel industry far larger than just NASA. Boeing, for example, has announced a partnership to fly space tourists to the space station.
Since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011, NASA has had no way to send its astronauts to orbit, relying on the venerable Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transportation at a cost of $70 million per seat. That became a somewhat politically uneasy arrangement after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
The Bush administration had announced a NASA program to send astronauts back to the moon, relying on two NASA-designed and operated rockets. The Obama administration, after concluding that approach was too expensive, canceled the rockets and the return to the moon.
Instead, the Obama administration built upon another Bush-era NASA initiative. NASA had hired two companies, SpaceX and the Orbital Sciences Corporation of Vienna, Va., to fly cargo to the space station. Beginning in 2010, NASA began a similar competition to choose companies to carry astronauts, not just cargo.

We should build an astronomical firewall to protect ourselves from knowledge of extraterrestrials ↘



The perseid meteor shower peaks tonight. grab a blanket & someone to snuggle with - head out past your city lights to catch a glimpse. or just watch it live online: 

Have fun out there. If you don’t have anyone to snuggle with, don’t kid yourself…you’re awesome and never alone…not with millions of sibling hominids gazing out into the same universe :)

well put. :]

The perseid meteor shower peaks tonight. grab a blanket & someone to snuggle with - head out past your city lights to catch a glimpse. or just watch it live online: 

still from the upcoming film, ‘interstellar’

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Whether and when NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, humankind’s most distant object, broke through to interstellar space, the space between stars, has been a thorny issue. For the last year, claims have surfaced every few months that Voyager 1 has “left our solar system”.
Voyager 1 is exploring an even more unfamiliar place than our Earth’s sea floors — a place more than 11 billion miles (17 billion kilometers) away from our sun. It has been sending back so much unexpected data that the science team has been grappling with the question of how to explain all the information. None of the handful of models the Voyager team uses as blueprints have accounted for the observations about the transition between our heliosphere and the interstellar medium in detail. The team has known it might take months, or longer, to understand the data fully and draw their conclusions.
Since the 1960s, most scientists have defined our solar system as going out to the Oort Cloud, where the comets that swing by our sun on long timescales originate. That area is where the gravity of other stars begins to dominate that of the sun. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 1 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly about 30,000 years to fly beyond it. Informally, of course, “solar system” typically means the planetary neighborhood around our sun. Because of this ambiguity, the Voyager team has lately favored talking about interstellar space, which is specifically the space between each star’s realm of plasma influence.
Voyager 1, which is working with a finite power supply, has enough electrical power to keep operating the fields and particles science instruments through at least 2020, which will mark 43 years of continual operation. At that point, mission managers will have to start turning off these instruments one by one to conserve power, with the last one turning off around 2025.
The spacecraft will continue sending engineering data for a few more years after the last science instrument is turned off, but after that it will be sailing on as a silent ambassador. In about 40,000 years, it will be closer to the star AC +79 3888 than our own sun. (AC +79 3888 is traveling toward us faster than we are traveling towards it, so while Alpha Centauri is the next closest star now, it won’t be in 40,000 years.) And for the rest of time, Voyager 1 will continue orbiting around the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, with our sun but a tiny point of light among many.

For more information about Voyager, visit: and


my name is alana. i like sharing space art & connecting with others. LDL chronicles my exploration of the cosmos one daydream at a time.

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