NASA’s Road to Mars forum wrapped up this week with positive news for California’s fledgling commercial space industry. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s summary included a commitment on the part of the Obama Administration to begin using commercially built spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of 2017.
This is particularly powerful news for California, as one of the two companies mentioned in Bolden’s summary was Hawhtorne, CA base SpaceX, an advanced rocket and spacecraft manufacturer that already has a contract to deliver non-human goods to the ISS. In fact, SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle was the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
NASA’s summary promises a continued and growing commercial partnership to take American astronauts farther into space than ever before. Bolden emphasized that the Obama Administration’s Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative will fund NASA with an additional $900 million in fiscal year 2015 to help he agency drive technology and innovation, spur economic activity and create jobs.
Following Tuesday’s forum, NASA officials NASA announced the selection of three U.S. companies to negotiate no-funds exchanged partnership agreements to develop lander capabilities for spacecraft headed for the moon. Two of the three companies, Masten Space Systems and Moon Express, Inc, are based here in California.
You can watch all of the multimedia presentations from the forum here.