NASA C3PO

Program Goal

The C3PO will extend human presence in space by enabling an expanding and robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry.

Program Objectives

  • Implement U.S. Space Exploration policy with investments to stimulate the commercial space industry
  • Facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration of cargo and crew space transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving safe, reliable, cost effective access to low-Earth orbit
  • Create a market environment in which commercial space transportation services are available to Government and private sector customers

NASA’s traditional approach is to create government owned and operated systems, working in a government/contractor relationship with industry. To help stimulate commercial spaceflight, the Commercial Crew & Cargo Program employs a different strategy where industry creates privately owned and operated space transportation systems, with NASA serving as a lead investor and customer of transportation services. Furthermore, NASA provides technical assistance as industry develops and demonstrates its services.

The Program manages Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) partnership agreements with U.S. industry totaling $500M for commercial cargo transportation demonstrations and is investing $50M towards commercial crew development initiatives.

C3PO Related Sites

  • SpaceX Logo

    SpaceX  →

    SpaceX aims to change the space paradigm by developing a family of launch vehicles which will ultimately reduce the cost and increase the reliability of space access by a factor of ten.

  • Orbital Logo Black

    Orbital  →

    Founded in 1982, the company has pioneered new classes of rockets, satellites and other space-based technologies that help make the benefits of space more affordable, accessible and useful to millions of people on Earth.


  • Blue Origin  →

    Blue Origin is developing New Shepard, a rocket propelled vehicle designed to routinely fly multiple astronauts into suborbital space and provide the public with opportunities to experience space flight.


  • Boeing  →

    Boeing is the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined.


  • Paragon  →

    Paragon provides premier hardware and engineering services that consistently meet or exceed out most challenging life support and thermal control requirements.


  • United Launch Alliance  →

    United Launch Alliance brings together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams- Atlas and Delta- that have more than 100 years of combined launch experience.


  • Sierra Nevada  →

    Sierra Nevada Corporation(formerly SpaceDev) has a mission to further the exploration and utilization of space in ways previously unimagined by bringing the very best to bear to the challenge.

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