NASA plans to use private spacecraft for crewed suborbital flights

NASA’s private spaceflight plans extend well beyond launching people into orbit. The agency is forming a plan to fly astronauts, investigators and other staff aboard suborbital spacecraft. Once a Suborbital Crew office inside the Commercial Crew Program has qualified a suborbital system as safe to use, NASA will buy seats aboard suborbital flights for various missions.

The administration is exploring these flights for the same reasons it has embraced commercial spaceflight in the first place: this is theoretically “more accessible, affordable, and available” than conventional government operations. At the least, it would save NASA from building the vehicles themselves.

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