The International Space Station and its many commercial crew missions, including a potential commercial mission to the moon, are vital to NASA’s efforts to address the global challenges posed by climate change, global health and other emerging threats.
But many of those projects are not expected to receive funding from NASA’s commercial space agency, NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The space agency has said it will not award commercial contracts for its commercial crew program until 2020, citing budgetary constraints.NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) is responsible for funding commercial crew operations in space.
The agency has awarded contracts for two commercial crew capsules and two NASA-owned Orion spacecraft to Boeing and SpaceX, which are developing the spacecraft and capsule systems.
The two companies are working on a second commercial crew capsule, Orion V, that is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2021.
The Orion V will provide crews on long-duration missions with access to the International Space Market, a market that provides commercial crew vehicles with supplies, services and expertise.
NASA says it will use its Commercial Crew funds to support a two-year pilot program to demonstrate how the capsule could meet its mission requirements, and NASA has offered to pay for that pilot program.NASA is also looking to commercialize Orion V as a way to provide a more affordable alternative to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The Atlas V has a $4.7 billion price tag, and it’s currently in the midst of a two year launch contract that is expected to cost at least $1.5 billion.NASA says it is also interested in commercializing the Orion spacecraft, which is currently being developed by Boeing.
The Orion V is slated to carry a crew of about 250 people, but the agency said in May that it was looking to explore a manned crewed spacecraft.
It also said it is looking to partner with SpaceX, the company that developed the SpaceX Dragon capsule and is planning a commercial crew mission.
The U.S. government has already committed $1 billion to support Orion V.NASA officials say they will work with Boeing and others to develop a new crew vehicle that is “more affordable and easier to deliver to the U. S. market.”
Boeing says it expects to be able to start work on a new capsule in the first half of 2021, and Boeing and NASA say the new vehicle could be delivered by the end of the year.
NASA and Boeing have not yet said when they expect to begin work on the new capsule, or how long that work might take.