Space Race 2.0
61 years ago, the Space Race between the United States of America and the Soviet Union started, effectively ending in a US victory when they landed on the moon. Fast forward to modern day, and two private companies, Boeing and SpaceX, are locked in the same battle. Boeing has long worked with NASA to make rockets, like the Saturn V and now the SLS (Space Launch System), and SpaceX is known for Falcon 9 and recently from their launch of the Falcon Heavy in which they launched a mannequin and a Tesla into space. These two companies have potential contracts with NASA to be the first private company to transport humans to the ISS and low earth orbit. Under the CCP (commercial crew program), NASA has signed a contract with Boeing for $4.2 billion and $2.6 billion for SpaceX, with the contract starting after the first successful launch. With these contracts, the company that does it first gets to fly a minimum of 2 missions, with a maximum of 6. They also have a better position to help in future NASA projects. Until recently, SpaceX has had a comfortable lead for their first test flight, but they had to readjust their timeline, which puts their manned launch in December after Boeing’s planned manned launch in November. These companies are also in a separate race to Mars with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg tweeting that they are going to beat SpaceX to Mars and Elon Musk responding with “Do it.”
Who do you think will win the 21st century space race?
Pictured: (left) SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
(right) Boeing’s Starliner capsule.