NASA tries to get the private section into the rocket-launching business by awarding a total of about $500 million to two companies to develop low-cost flights to the International Space Station.
Under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program, SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler will only be paid after the companies reach specified goals along the way. The first stage of the program involves sending cargo to the International Space Station. The second stage requires sending and returning crews.
Right is Dragon, the capsule that SpaceX plans to develop.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.