Which companies will carry cargo to the ISS until the end of its operation?

NASA announced that in order to provide the ISS with everything necessary to stop its work, contracts with three commercial companies would be extended. They will be SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Space.

The Cygnus spacecraft from Northrop Grumman will continue to carry cargo to the ISS until its closure. Source: NASA

NASA decided on partners for the ISS

The operation of the International Space Station will be completed by 2030. This was once again confirmed by NASA representatives, publishing on March 2 their plans for contracts with commercial companies for the delivery of cargo to it in the final period of operation, from 2027 to 2030

NASA is not going to hold new contests among commercial carriers. Instead, it is proposed to extend the contract with three companies with which they have been concluded previously: SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Space. Upon completion of the ISS operation, it should be replaced by commercial space stations.

Why NASA does not announce a competition, as it usually happens, is not reported. It is quite possible that in addition to the three already verified partners, they simply do not see other options there. However, the message states that if someone is able to offer their services for cargo delivery to the ISS, they can send their proposals to the space agency.

NASA partnership with commercial companies

NASA’s cooperation with the three named companies has been going on for several years. The first CRS-2 commercial transportation contracts with Orbital Sciences (now part of Northrop) and SpaceX were signed back in 2016. Then each of them is guaranteed to order at least 6 missions.

In 2022, this contract was expanded. To date, the total number of missions ordered by NASA is 14 for Northrop and 15 for SpaceX. As for Sierra Space, they still haven’t launched their Dream Chaser space shuttle. The contract with this company provides for 3 launches and the company assures that the first of them will take place this autumn with the help of a new Vulcan Centaur rocket.

The cost of additional missions has not been disclosed. But according to the procurement databases, to date, NASA has allocated about USD 2.2 billion to Northrop, Sierra Space — USD 1.1 billion, SpaceX — USD 2.35 billion.

Theoretically, Boeing could join this group of companies with its CST-100 Starliner, but so far NASA does not take it into account. Lockheed Martin also applied, but what exactly they offer remains unknown.

According to spacenews.com

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