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NASA Accepting Bids For Next Commercial Crew Program Phase

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NASA has released a request for proposals for the first of two contract phases, where the agency intends to certify commercially-developed space systems for sending human crews to the International Space Station.

During that 15-month phase, the agency said companies will provide strategies to meet the agency’s standards and safety requirements before receiving approval to fly NASA astronauts to the space station.

Those strategies will include data relating to the spacecraft, launch vehicle, ground and mission operations and recovery, the agency said.

Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced in August it will receive up to $460 million from the space agency to develop its CST-100 spacecraft, with funds covering a 21-month base period.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is the prime contractor on the agency’s Orion program and holds a potential $370 million contract for testing the parachutes, heat shield and flight software.

During recent tests, Lockheed conducted a water impact test of Orion’s parachutes while Boeing tested the CST-100’s heat shield for protecting the parachutes during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA said it could award future contracts for commercial crew transportation services once the program matures and is available to government and commercial customers.

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