NASA ditches Russia for Boeing, SpaceX

NASA aiming for 2017 commercial launch

In this May 29, 2014 photo, Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, introduces the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)
In this May 29, 2014 photo, Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, introduces the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from US soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners at a late-afternoon news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The news had been eagerly anticipated for weeks.

The deal will end NASA’s expensive reliance on Russia. US astronauts have been riding Russian rockets ever since NASA’s shuttles retired in 2011. The latest price tag is $71 million per seat.

NASA has set a goal of 2017 for the first launch under the commercial crew program. Both companies will use crew capsules. Launches will originate from Cape Canaveral.

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