NASA announced on Tuesday that it will contract with two private companies, Boeing and SpaceX, to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station beginning in 2017.
Boeing and California-based SpaceX, which specializes in private space travel, were two of several private companies competing for the NASA contracts, called the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability. Earlier this summer, SpaceX announced it was choosing Brownsville as the future home of a commercial launch facility. The state put up $15.3 million for the project.
At a press conference on Tuesday, officials said NASA is awarding Boeing a $4.2 billion contract and SpaceX a $2.6 billion contract to perform between two and six missions each. The companies will carry crew members and cargo into space.
Since retiring its space shuttle fleet in 2011, NASA has been searching for an alternative way to transport its astronauts to space, as opposed to paying Russia $70.7 million per seat for rides.