American space agency NASA has allocated over $415 million to three US companies, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, to design private space stations and other commercial destinations in orbit.
Bezos’ company will receive $130 million, Nanoracks – a provider of commercial access to space – will get $160 million, and multinational aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman will be given $125.6 million.
In a statement on its website, NASA says it seeks to maintain a US presence in orbit by transitioning to other platforms, as the International Space Station is set to cease operations by the end of the decade.
The statement goes on to explain that the awards will stimulate the development of commercial space stations by the private sector that will be available to both government and private sector customers.
“We are partnering with US companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live, and work, enabling NASA to continue forging a path in space for the benefit of humanity while fostering commercial activity in space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
NASA has already partnered with the private industry. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX puts satellites into orbit, delivers cargo and, more recently, launched a crew to the ISS. In April, NASA awarded a contract to SpaceX for $2.9 billion to use a rocket named Starship to take astronauts to the moon.
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