WSJ reports NASA is considering to outsource to private companies everything from transporting astronauts to ferrying cargo into orbit. Budget woes are the origin of this potential major shift in policy.
Proposals gaining momentum in Washington call for contractors to build and run competing systems under commercial contracts, according to federal officials, aerospace-industry officials and others familiar with the discussions.
While the Obama administration is still mulling options and hasn't made any final decisions, such a move would represent a major policy shift away from decades of government-run rocket and astronaut-transportation programs such as the current space-shuttle fleet. By some estimates, the Administration's current spending blueprint for manned space exploration over the next decade is between $30 billion and $50 billion less than federal officials first projected when President George W. Bush unveiled a plan to return astronauts to the moon.