A big day for the future of the space program. NASA has said it will budget $1.1 billion toward the development of three next-generation spaceships, which the agency says will allow humans to launch into space from American soil once again within just five years.
“Advances made by these companies under newly signed Space Act Agreements through the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative are intended to ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for government and commercial customers,” NASA said in a statement.
Since the 2011 retirement of the Space Shuttle, the U.S. has been without a vehicle that could send astronauts into orbit, let alone deep space. Astronauts have relied on Russian Soyuz capsules, which launch from Kazakhstan.
NASA set aside $460 million for Boeing, $440 million for SpaceX and $212.5 million for Sierra Nevada.
“Today, we are announcing another critical step toward launching our astronauts from U.S. soil on space systems built by American companies,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, in a statement. “We have selected three companies that will help keep us on track to end the outsourcing of human spaceflight and create high-paying jobs in Florida and elsewhere across the country.”