Prepare to have some sci fi plot bunnies released:
NASA just announced a critical component of Launch America, the country’s highly anticipated next chapter in human spaceflight. The organization confirmed in a press conference today that Boeing and SpaceX will split the $6.8 billion “space taxi” contract, with $4.2 billion going to Boeing and $2.6 billion to SpaceX.
Essentially, Boeing’s CST-100 Space Capsule and SpaceX’s Dragon will each send a test flight to the International Space Station to demonstrate their space taxi capabilities. Each team will fly to the ISS with a NASA crew member and cargo, show that they can dock to the station, and return to Earth safely. Astronauts could be taking a ride on the space taxi pilot program as soon as 2017.