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Nasa adds $36m to develop spaceships to be sent to International Space Station

Published on Dec 11, 2012 9:53 AM

MOJAVE, California (REUTERS) - Nasa is adding US$30 million (S$36 million) to its investment in three companies'efforts to develop spaceships that can fly astronauts to the International Space Station, officials said on Monday.

The US space agency awarded US$10 million to privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp, US$9.99 million to Boeing and US$9.59 million to privately owned Space Exploration Technologies to help the firms get their vehicles certified to fly to the station.

Since the retirement of the space shuttles last year, Nasa has been dependent on Russia to fly astronauts to the US$100 billion orbital outpost, a research laboratory owned and operated by 15 countries that flies about 400km above Earth.

The companies have separate agreements with Nasa to develop space transportation systems, with the aim of breaking Russia's monopoly by 2017. Boeing was awarded US$460 million for its CST-100 capsule, Space Exploration Technologies received US$440 million to upgrade its Dragon cargo capsule to carry people and Sierra Nevada was awarded US$212.5 million for work on its winged Dream Chaser.

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