Transformational Space Corp and PlanetSpace received a promise for continued consultations, advise, and feedback from NASA regarding their development of spacecraft capable of delivering cargo and crew to the International Space Station. The promise stems for the COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) competition previously sponsored by NASA. SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler were awarded $500 million from that competition in order to pursue their own designs for spacecraft. The COTS competition will be re-opened in 2010, which may give Transformational Space Corp (t/Space) and PlanetSpace a chance to get contracts for re-supplying the space station. It is estimated that those contracts will be lucrative to the tune of several billion dollars.
Transformational Space Corp is hoping that their Crew Transfer Vehicle (CXV), which utilizes an air-launch, will propel them forward in the growing private and government space travel and transportation industries.
PlanetSpace, financially backed by Chirinjeev Kathuria, is hoping to gain a position in the market by using a Soyuz type V2 rocket to propel a hypersonic glider, called the Silver Dart, into suborbital and orbital flights. They also plan to offer passenger space tours.
The timing of the upcoming COTS competition also plays into the upcoming decommissioning of the space fleet and subsequent replacement with the Orion craft. Which is also slated to occur in 2010.