Why NASA pays SpaceX and Boeing to fly astronauts to the…

After the ultimate flight of the Space Shuttle in July of 2011, the U.S.
might not ship its astronauts into area. This was an issue. The
shuttle’s remaining act was to full the International Space Station, probably the most formidable human spaceflight challenge since Apollo. Designed to final for many years, the ISS is the first vacation spot for
NASA’s astronauts. Without the shuttle, NASA’s solely choice was to purchase
seats on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.How a lot did NASA pay for Soyuz flights?As of 2020, the price of a single Soyuz seat had risen to $90 million,
and NASA had spent almost $four billion flying 70 astronauts to the ISS.
It was politically unpalatable for the U.S. to spend billions
of {dollars} supporting Russia’s aerospace business as an alternative of its personal.
Fears had additionally grown in regards to the reliability of Russia’s area program,
culminating with the 2018 emergency abort of a Soyuz carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague.Human spaceflight, regardless of its highest beliefs, stays a robust
assertion of business and financial may. Of the three international locations ever to
ship people into area — Russia, the U.S., and China — none have completely
deserted that functionality. But for 9 years, the nation that first
landed people on the Moon has been unable to even launch them to Earth
orbit.Why did not NASA construct a substitute for the Space Shuttle?NASA did not find yourself on this state of affairs for a scarcity of making an attempt. The company initiated a number of Shuttle-replacement initiatives within the 1990s and 2000s — most notably, Constellation — however
these failed due to quite a lot of design, price, and political issues.
Before the top of the shuttle program, NASA by no means had the mandatory
political assist to concurrently fund the development of the ISS,
develop a brand new human-capable spacecraft and rocket system, and proceed
flying the Space Shuttle — which price the area company $3.5 billion per
12 months towards the top of its lifetime.Anticipating the necessity for another to ship cargo and crews to
the ISS, NASA turned to the aerospace business with a novel proposal:
what if NASA was a buyer, as an alternative of your boss? Perhaps the company
would find yourself paying much less in the long term, and find yourself jump-starting a
entire new business.

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