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NASA awards $3.5 billion space station delivery contract

Artist rendering of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft delivering cargo to the International Space Station. Credit NASA

WASHINGTON, DC (BNS): NASA has awarded two International Space Station (ISS) resupply service cargo contracts worth $3.5 billion to private space launch companies.

According to the US space agency these agreements will fulfill NASA's need to procure cargo delivery services to the space station using a US commercial carrier after the retirement of the space shuttle in 2010.

The two contracts have been awarded to Orbital Sciences Corp of Dulles, Virgina and the other to California based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is for commercial cargo resupply services to the International ISS.

According to NASA, at the time of award, it has ordered eight flights valued at about $1.9 billion from Orbital and 12 flights valued at about $1.6 billion from SpaceX.

“These fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts will begin January 1, 2009, and are effective through December 31, 2016. The contracts each call for the delivery of a minimum of 20 metric tons of upmass cargo to the space station. The contracts also call for delivery of non-standard services in support of the cargo resupply, including analysis and special tasks as the government determines are necessary,” NASA said in a press release.

NASA has set production milestones and reviews on the contracts to monitor progress toward providing services. The maximum potential value of each contract is about $3.1 billion. Based on known requirements, the value of both contracts combined is projected at $3.5 billion.

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