|International Space Station|
|Atlantis Overhaul in Palmdale, California|
Now it appears we are on the verge of an embarrassment of riches. Multiple companies and alliances are competing to put Americans in space. America may go from no launch platform for putting Americans in orbit to at least three. SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and Boeing were the winners of additional funding while ATK’s Liberty, Blue Origin, and Orbital have apparently lost out for now. The homegrown SpaceX has the clear advantage, built entirely in the U.S. by an immigrant turned American entrepreneur, it is a story made for the stars. Sierra Nevada’s design heavily leverages NASA’s work on the HL-20. Sierra Nevada’s entrant, the Dream Chaser is loved by those want to see a lifting body, shuttle-like contender while Boeing is developing its own capsule to ferry astronauts. The SpaceX booster is an original design, while Sierra Nevada and Boeing with rely on the proven Atlas V. The Atlas V, which is remarkably reliable, does not have a 100% American pedigree or a man rating as of yet. Its booster relies on the Russian RD-80 engine.
|Bigelow's Space Habitat|