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The competition heats up: NASA is preparing the next round of commercial contracts to supply cargo to ISS.
NASA announced the plan in a request for information released late Feb. 21. Responses from industry are due March 21. The document, which NASA posted online, did not say when the agency would solicit bids, or when it would make an award for the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS) contract. The expected budget for CRS 2 is between $1 billion and $1.4 billion a year from 2017 to 2024, NASA said. NASA envisions four to five flights a year under CRS 2. Back in January, the White House announced it wanted to extend space station operations through 2024. Congress has currently committed to fund the space station through 2020. CRS 2 contract calls for delivery of 14,250 to 16,750 kilograms per year of pressurized cargo, and delivery of 1,500 to 4,000 kilograms per year of unpressurized cargo.
Assuming both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences win new contracts, this will give them a strong cash flow as they pursue new space endeavors.