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NASA doles out the dough…

August 3, 2012

NASA announced today the amounts handed out to commercial space contractors through the CCiCap program (Commercial Cerw Integrated Capability):

Sierra Nevada, $ 212.5 million

SpaceX, $ 440 million

Boeing, $ 460 million

That’s pretty much what I guessed, back in June. Those are the most serious contenders. It means that Blue Origin is left out, and the ATK/Astrium/Lockheed Liberty isn’t mentioned anywhere. Except for renting out some space to them, NASA has pretty much ignored Liberty.

Blue Origin is a weird duck. It’s been very secretive, and apparently working the suborbital market more than the orbital commercial one. They are even building two different vehicles. Maybe they are ok with the funding from Jeff Bezos.

I wouldn’t put ATK and their European partners out of the space business yet. While ATK will maybe get to build the strapon boosters for the SLS heavy lifter – assuming it ever makes it off the drawing board – NASA has left the possibility of using liquid-fueled strapons open.

It helps SpaceX, of course. Even with a current backlog of Falcon 9 launchers building up, having almost a half-billion dollars from NASA almost makes up for the interference that will certainly come from government bureaucrats.

If there is anything more to be gained from this announcement, it’s that SpaceX gets almost as much as Boeing. Considering Boeing’s track record with NASA in particular and the government in general, I think that speaks well for SpaceX.

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