As President Obama Marks Final Launch of Endeavour, Nation Looks to Commercial Space for the Future

CCDev Vehicles

Kennedy Space Center, Florida, Wednesday, April 27, 2011 – As President Obama and Americans nationwide honor the historic accomplishments of the retiring Space Shuttle, an exciting new era of commercial spaceflight is being readied.  Tomorrow morning NASA will hold a press conference at Kennedy Space Center with commercial space pioneers.”Once the Space Shuttle retires this year, the next vehicle to carry astronauts into space from Florida’s Space Coast will be a commercial spacecraft – and this marks a historic change, perhaps the biggest in NASA’s fifty-year history,” said Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

America’s space program received a huge boost earlier this month when NASA awarded $269 million in competitive agreements to four pioneering commercial space companies who are developing the capability to take crews to low Earth orbit commercially: Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX.  The program will create thousands of jobs across the United States, including a significant number in Florida. Company executives and senior NASA officials will be participating in a press conference at Kennedy Space Center at 11 am EDT on Thursday, April 28.

What: Press conference with winners of NASA’s $269M Commercial Crew Development Program

Where: NASA Kennedy Space Center press auditorium, also carried live on NASA TV and online: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

When: 11am Eastern Daylight Time, Thursday, April 28

Who:
– Rob Meyerson, President and Program Manager, Blue Origin
– John Elbon, VP and Program Manager Commercial Crew Transportation, the Boeing Company
– Mark Sirangelo, Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems
– Garrett Reisman, Senior Engineer, SpaceX and former NASA Astronaut
– Phil McAlister, Acting Director of Commercial Spaceflight Development, NASA Headquarters
– Ed Mango, Program Manager of Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy Space Center

Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Bretton Alexander continued, “These private companies are building and testing real spaceships that will inaugurate a whole new kind of space race.” Alexander added, “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is on par with the government Airmail Act that spurred the growth of early aviation and led to today’s passenger airline industry, which generates billions of dollars annually for the American economy.”

“Commercial spaceflight is about innovation, inspiration and jobs,” noted Eric Anderson, Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.  “We’re at the forefront of major innovation, and the commercial spaceflight industry can serve as an example to the world of the power of American entrepreneurship.”

Anderson added, “We are really at the threshold of something truly transformative. We’ve seen numerous markets open ranging from NASA missions and space tourism, to scientific research.”

John Gedmark, Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation stated, “Commercial spaceflight is a great deal for the American taxpayer.  NASA will no longer have to send money to Russia to buy seats for our astronauts. We can spend that money to create jobs here at home instead.”

Gedmark concluded, “We’ll finally be able to realize the sci-fi future people have been dreaming about, one that inspired an entire generation of dreamers and innovators.  People are again imagining a future like we saw in the landmark film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, where private spacecraft offered frequent flights into space.  This is going to be one of the most exciting stories of the 21st century, and we are just at the beginning of that story.”

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at john@commercialspaceflight.org or at 202.349.1121.

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