Earlier this month NASA reaffirmed both the support and necessity for commercial development of space programs. This was communicated through formal Release 12-045, calling for new commercial crew proposals. The initiative is being pursued by NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program, also referred to as C3. Through commercial satelitte programs, as well as a private solution for ISS ferrying missions, the idea of NASA coordinating with commercial solutions has been around for a while. SpaceX already won a $1.6 billion dollar contract in December of 2008 for resupply and ferrying missions with the ISS. The first SpaceX mission is scheduled for later in 2012 with their Dragon platform. Although not a new idea, the formal release further substantiates their support for the development of commercial solutions in space.
A copy of the formal release is attached below.
Video courtesy of NASA C3.
Michael Braukus/J.D. Harrington