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Friday, 10 March 2017 15:13

NASA Telescope Discovers Three Habitable-Zone Planets, and These Companies Want to Take You to Them

Author: 

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted seven Earth-sized planets orbiting around a single star. Most importantly, three of those planets are in the habitable zone, which encompasses "the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water."

At 40 light-years or 235 trillion miles from Earth, these planets are relatively close to us. And with NASA's space shuttles retiring this year and private space flight becoming more of a reality with companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX, your nerd dreams of making space your ultimate luxury vacation frontier will probably happen in your lifetime. It's just a matter of affording it.  

Let's take a look at six companies competing for a slice of space exploration. Larger engineering companies like Lockheed Martin  (LMT) and Boeing  (BA) are also throwing their hat into the ring for commercial space exploration and it'll be interesting to see which company ultimately benefits the most from interplanetary traveling. 

SpaceX 

Spaceship names: Dragon Spacecraft and Falcon 9 Rocket 
Crazy wealthy backer: Elon Musk of Tesla (TSLA)   
Fun fact: The company's cargo craft just failed to dock with the space station!

Orbital Sciences 

Spaceship names: Cygnus and Taurus 2 rocket  
Backer: Orbital Sciences (ORB) , a publicly traded company 
Fun fact: Was just awarded a $78.18 million contract to "provide integration and testing services for the space test program satellite-6 (STPSat-6) through August 2021."

Blue Origin  

Spaceship name: New Shepard  
Crazy wealthy backer: Jeff Bezos of Amazon (AMZN)   
Fun fact: The company plans on getting civilians into New Shepard for suborbital trips by 2018.

Bigelow Airspace

Spaceship names: Sundancer and BA-330 
Crazy wealthy backer: Robert Bigelow of Budget Suisse
Fun fact: For the last 16 years, they company has been advancing inflatable habitat technology.

SpaceDev/Sierra Nevada Corp. 
Spaceship Name: Dream Chaser 
Backing: Sierra Nevada Corp., of Sparks, Nev.   
Fun fact: NASA selected the company for anticipated cargo missions to fly between 2019 and 2024.

Virgin Galactic 

Spaceship Name: SpaceShipTwo 
Crazy wealthy backer: Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group 
Fun fact: The company charges $250,000 a person for membership in the Future Astronauts program and a trip to space.

Source : https://www.thestreet.com/story/14012111/4/nasa-telescope-discovers-three-habitable-planets-and-these-companies-want-to-take-you-to-them.html

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