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Commercial Space Companies Want More Money From NASA

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-07-14 19:56:41

Commercial space companies want NASA to expand the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program []. SpaceX's senior vice president for global business and government affairs called for the COTS program to be extended to deep space activities:

Commercial space companies today (July 13) urged legislators to extend NASA's successful public-private partnerships for International Space Station transportation to future programs, including human missions to Mars.

NASA already is working with six firms to develop prototype habitats [] that would augment the agency's multibillion-dollar Orion capsule and Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket. NASA has said it intends to use the system to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s [].

[...] Technologies that SpaceX would be interested in developing in partnership with NASA include heavy-cargo missions to Mars, deep-space communications systems, and demonstrations of vertical takeoff and landing on the moon, Hughes said.

Getting spacecraft like the Interplanetary Spaceship [] to Mars will probably require SpaceX to dip into the NASA coffers yet again []:

This proposal was foreshadowed last year in Guadalajara, Mexico. At the International Astronautical Congress there, Musk presented a sketch of the architecture needed [] to lower the cost of transit to Mars enough to make colonization feasible. His top-line cost of $10 billion, however, is likely out of reach for SpaceX in the near term—without the help of a big-pocketed government. "There's a lot of people in the private sector who are interested in helping fund a base on Mars, and perhaps there will be interest on the government sector side to do that," Musk said last fall.

Also at Ars Technica [] and LA Times [] (broader article about the economics of heavy launch capabilities).

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