NASA has selected 13 companies to study the future of commercial human spaceflight in low-Earth orbit, including long-range opportunities for the International Space Station.
The studies will assess the potential growth of a low-Earth orbit economy and how to best stimulate private demand for commercial human spaceflight.
The portfolio of selected studies will include specific industry concepts detailing business plans and viability for habitable platforms, whether using the space station or separate free-flying structures.
The studies also will provide NASA with recommendations on the role of government and evolution of the space station in the process of transitioning US human spaceflight activities in low-Earth orbit to non-governmental enterprises.
Sam Scimemi, director of the International Space Station division at NASA Headquarters, said: “When the International Space Station was established, we could not have anticipated all of the benefits it would provide.
“We’re excited to receive this input from the commercial market and aerospace experts to help shape a future thriving space economy in which companies contract with each other to conduct research and activities in low-Earth orbit.”
The selected companies are:
- Axiom Space, LLC, of Houston
- Bigelow Aerospace, LLC of Las Vegas
- Blue Origin, LLC, of Kent, Washington
- The Boeing Company of Houston
- Deloitte Consulting of Manhattan Beach, California
- KBRWyle of Houston
- Lockheed Martin Corporation of Littleton, Colorado
- McKinsey & Company, Inc. of Washington, D.C.
- NanoRacks, LLC, of Webster, Texas
- Northrop Grumman of Dulles, Virginia
- Sierra Nevada Corporation of Louisville, Colorado
- Space Adventures, Inc., of Vienna, Virginia
- Space Systems/Loral, Inc. of Palo Alto, California
The analysis resulting from these studies will help NASA, the administration and Congress develop a strategic approach to expanding opportunities for American industry, NASA says.
The contracts and amounts are dependent on negotiations with the selectees, but NASA estimates the combined value of all awards will be approximately $11 million, with each contract not to exceed $1 million.
The final study reports will be delivered to NASA in December.