By: Sydney G.

On August 1, NASA hired Boeing, SpaceX, and Sierra Nevada to charter astronauts to and from the space station, and possibly to an asteroid or Mars some day. NASA was previously reliant on Russia to send supplies, astronauts, and experiments back and forth from the International Space Station. The United States and Russia have been working together to achieve space travel for  quite some time. Since the end of the space shuttles in 2011, NASA astronauts have been dependent on Russia for a ride to space. Some people believe Russia refused to keep transporting American supplies and astronauts. Others believe the United States stopped asking Russia for help. It won’t be easy to let Russia go, and the United States had to find a company who would be able to bring their astronauts back and forth.

Boeing, a large company who has worked with NASA previously, is believed to be the best option for this job by The White House. They will be ready to launch within three years, much faster than other companies are expected to be prepared. SpaceX is a newer company, however it was designed solely for space travel and has already successfully launched rockets and delivered cargo to the Space Station. Sierra Nevada is an older company which is still very small. Although NASA hired all three companies, in the end Boeing or SpaceX will most likely be completing all the research and engineering. NASA hasn’t mentioned what they hope to accomplish with these companies other than transportation to the station, but many suspect they have bigger projects in mind.

The Big Story

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nasa-picks-3-private-firms-develop-space-taxis

The Week

http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/268192/speedreads-boeing-appears-primed-to-beat-spacex-for-massive-nasa-space-taxi-contract

The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/11/nasa-is-cutting-ties-with-russia-but-its-not-that-simple/