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NASA

NASA May Outsource 219

The Wall Street Journal is running a piece about the growing momentum behind the idea of NASA outsourcing to private companies everything from transporting astronauts to ferrying cargo into orbit. Quoting: "Proposals gaining momentum in Washington call for contractors to build and run competing systems under commercial contracts, according to federal officials, aerospace-industry officials and others familiar with the discussions. While the Obama administration is still mulling options and hasn't made any final decisions, such a move would represent a major policy shift away from decades of government-run rocket and astronaut-transportation programs such as the current space-shuttle fleet. ... In the face of severe federal budget constraints and a burgeoning commercial-space industry eager to play a larger role in exploring the solar system and perhaps beyond, ...a consensus for the new approach seems to be building inside the White House as well as [NASA]. ... Under this scenario, a new breed of contractors would take over many of NASA's current responsibilities, freeing the agency to pursue longer-term, more ambitious goals such as new rocket-propulsion technology and manned missions to Mars. ...[T]hese contractors would take the lead in servicing the International Space Station from the shuttle's planned retirement around 2011 through at least the end of that decade."
Space

2008 Lunar Lander Challenge Teams Announced 39

anzha writes "The X Prize Foundation announced on Monday the competing teams for the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. This year there are ten teams competing for the two prizes. The XPF has a nice matchup utility to compare the different teams' rockets. The one downside to this year though is that the competition will not have an accompanying X Prize Cup. It will be webcast, though. Full disclosure: I am on a team."

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