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Boeing Wins NASA Contract For Spacecraft

Boeing Corp.

NASA announced Tuesday it will award Boeing $4.2 billion to build one of two spacecraft to take American astronauts to the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s Dragon won the other contract, worth $2.6 billion.

NASA said it’s backing the two space taxis with the goal of returning the launch of astronauts from U.S. soil by 2017.

Administrator Charles Bolden said NASA chose two spacecraft because they plan to have more destinations than the International Space Station, including Mars.

"To service those additional destinations we’re going to need as many providers as we can," he said during a press conference. "So our intent is as long as those providers meet our requirements, we want to use them."

NASA’s contracts with Boeing and SpaceX include at least two missions and up to six. The craft will carry four astronauts to the space station at a time.

Boeing will build three CST-100s at the company’s Commercial Crew Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The spacecraft will undergo a pad-abort test in 2016 and an un-crewed flight in early 2017, leading up to the first crewed flight to the International Space Station later that year.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.