By Kit Eaton
The Wall Street Journal is pre-empting today's historic announcement concerning NASA's commercial crew vehicle contract for transporting astronauts and equipment to the International Space Station on non-NASA vehicles. According to the WSJ the $1 billion funding prize will mostly go to SpaceX and Boeing--with Sierra Nevada as a backup candidate should either of the two front-runners suffer technical or other mishaps that prevent timely development of crew-capable vehicles.
Boeing is, of course, an old hand at this and has been developing a crew capsule that it salvaged from the abandoned NASA-led Moon and Mars programme called Constellation. SpaceX created history recently by docking its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to the ISS. It showed off its human-rated Dragon Rider system recently, noting that it's not much different to the tech successfully demonstrated with the first Dragon mission to the space station.
Visit our main Fast Feed page to keep up with the news during the day.
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.