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Who to watch in private space taxi field

Who to watch in private space taxi field

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 8:01 pm
By: AP

  

By The Associated Press

Here are some leading companies that are or could be developing a private space taxi system to take astronauts to the International Space Station. More firms may join in.

• The company: Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif.

The basics: Run by PayPal founder Elon Musk, this company has already built and tested a private rocket, Falcon, and has a capsule, Dragon. It already has a demonstration contract for private cargo with NASA. It is considered a leader in the field and has connections with Google.

The Web site: http://www.spacex.com/

• The companies: Boeing Co. of Chicago and Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas.

The basics: An interesting pairing. Boeing is one of the oldest companies in aerospace with corporate history going back to Mercury missions. Bigelow is a pioneer in the private space business that is developing a commercial space station/hotel. Boeing has its own much-launched rocket family, the Delta, and also is partners with Lockheed Martin Corp. in a firm that launches Delta and Atlas rockets.

The Web site: http://www.boeing.com/ and http://www.bigelowaerospace.com/

• The company: Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev.

The basics: A high-tech government contractor that recently bought one of the early private space firms, SpaceDev Inc.

The Web site: http://www.sncorp.com/

• The company: Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

The basics: One of the first private space companies. It has its own in-use rocket family, Taurus, which launches from Wallops Island, Va. It also has a demonstration contract for private cargo with NASA.

The Web site: http://www.orbital.com/

• The company: Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., or as part of United Launch Alliance of Denver.

The basics: Lockheed Martin had been building the capsule for NASA’s moon mission that is being canceled. It is an aerospace giant with a long history in manned space and has its own family of decades-old rockets, the Atlas. It could compete on its own or as part of the United Launch Alliance, which is a joint venture with Boeing that launches unmanned commercial rockets.

The Web sites: http://www.lockheedmartin.com and http://www.ulalaunch.com/
Published in The Messenger 2.10.10

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