With the end of the space shuttle program in sight, NASA is shifting its focus on orbital access to the private sector and building a commercial infrastructure.
Space Exploration Technologies
Iridium Communications Inc. has awarded a $492 million contract to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) for satellite space launch services. Under the terms of the contract, the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle will carry multiple Iridium NEXT satellites per vehicle, inserting the satellites into a low-Earth orbit as Iridium replaces its current satellite constellation. Efforts will take place over a two-year period starting in early 2015.