Elon Musk faces fresh challenge from a newcomer with a reusable spacecraft

Elon Musk has come across a new challenge from a beginner having a reusable spacecraft after the US space agency NASA divided a cargo deal worth as much as $14 billion between his SpaceX venture, Orbital ATK Inc. and budding Sierra Nevada Corp.

Musk’s SpaceX and Sierra Nevada are at the forefront of businesses looking forward to reuse pricey craft for squeezing expenses so that spaceflight becomes more reasonable for customers. Sierra Nevada is making a winged orbiter called Dream Chaser that would land on commercial runways post missions, whereas SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is aiming within a couple of years to touch down upright on land instead of splashing in oceans.

It has been Obama administration’s aim to see space innovation by private companies instead of governments. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said on Thursday that the most current arrangement includes missions to the orbiting lab over a six-year span beginning in late 2019. The awards approach as the space agency has been operating for the promotion of industrial missions and Congress is crying to end the US reliance on imported rocket engines.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden mentioned in a statement, “Today’s announcement is a massive deal that will move the president’s vision additional into the future”.

Kirk Shireman, system manager for the International Space Station, mentioned at a press conference at the Johnson Space Center in Houston that the total value of the contracts is going to depend on the forms of missions ordered, but will probably fall effectively brief of the maximum. Each supplier will fly at least six missions.

Dream Chaser, an initiative of Sierra Nevada, is going to get prominence with the pact, even though has offered a fresh twist on the concept of reusable spacecraft championed by Musk.

In December, SpaceX flew a 14-story rocket booster from the space’s edge to a Florida launching pad successfully and has planned equal vertical landing technologies for its Dragon capsules.