NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts

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PHOTO: International Space Station after undocking of STS-132, Photo Credit: NASA, Photo Date: May 2010 PHOTO: International Space Station after undocking of STS-132, Photo Credit: NASA, Photo Date: May 2010

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners at a late-afternoon news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The news had been eagerly anticipated for weeks.

The deal will end NASA's expensive reliance on Russia. U.S. astronauts have been riding Russian rockets ever since NASA's shuttles retired in 2011. The latest price tag is $71 million per seat.

NASA has set a goal of 2017 for the first launch under the commercial crew program. Both companies will use crew capsules. Launches will originate from Cape Canaveral.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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