Boeing preps space taxis for 2015

The company wants to fly people from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station.

By Kim Peterson Aug 16, 2010 4:06PM

Boeing (BA) is getting into the taxi business -- space taxis, that is.

The company wants to fly space taxis from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station by 2015, according to USA Today. The spacecraft may even fly to a commercial space station that a company named Bigelow Aerospace is developing.

Boeing is seizing the opportunity created after NASA said it would shut down its shuttle program next year. When that program goes, an estimated 20,000 total jobs are expected to be lost -- including 8,000 at the Kennedy Space Center, USA Today reports.

The company will reportedly decide over the next three months where to manufacture the spacecraft. A lot of jobs are at stake here, and four states -- Florida, Alabama, Texas and Nevada -- are competing for the work.

 

 Post continues after video:

What would a space taxi look like? Early descriptions show an Apollo-style capsule that could carry seven people, writes Todd Halvorson. Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace got $18 million to start development, but any future money is in the political winds pending budget negotiations between the White House and Congress.

It sounds like Boeing is running a tight ship (or is that spaceship?) when it comes to developing the taxis. The company said it has already met 22 of the 36 goals NASA gave it for the year.

The company is working on the launch abort system, the heat shield, flight software and landing drop tests, according to USA Today.

So could regular old non-NASA types hope to catch a cab into space soon? If you're a billionaire, perhaps. The cost to grab a seat into space currently runs at about $56 million.

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