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Commercial Space

NASA is enabling commercial industry to build, own, and operate space systems with the agency purchasing services for its science and research needs. Industry also can use those same services for fully commercial activities in space. Through our public-private partnerships, we are helping open space to more science, more people, and more opportunities. 

Night Earth Observations taken by Expedition 41 crewmember.
A close-up view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vertical with the Crew Dragon atop for the Crew-3 mission at Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during sunrise on Oct. 28, 2021. Also in view is the crew access arm.
Boeing's CST-100 Starliner crew ship approaches the International Space Station on the company's Orbital Flight Test-2 mission before automatically docking to the Harmony module's forward port.
Cygnus space freighter in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm

The Low Earth Orbit Economy

The low Earth orbit economy is a new and growing market of private companies providing access to, and services in, space. Customers include NASA, other government agencies, academic and research-based institutions, and other private companies.  

Low Earth Orbit Economy about The Low Earth Orbit Economy

Location

Low Earth orbit is 1,200 miles or less above Earth’s atmosphere.

Did you know?

38 humans have flown on commercial vehicles to low Earth orbit.

DID YOU KNOW?

2020 was the year of the first crewed flight on a commercial vehicle to the space station.

in the future

NASA is partnered with four companies to develop commercial space stations.

About

What is the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Economy?

One of NASA's strategic goals is to “develop a human spaceflight economy enabled by a commercial market.” 

Commercial Low Earth Orbit Economy about What is the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Economy?
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station
July 16, 2022 – The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship carrying over 5,800 pounds of new science experiments and crew supplies, pictured from a window on the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship, approaches the International Space Station above the south Atlantic Ocean.

Ride to the Moon?

Human Landing Systems

Bringing astronauts from orbit around the Moon onto lunar soil

NASA’s commercial providers, Blue Origin and SpaceX, are building the human landing systems that will carry Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface and back to lunar orbit for their ride home to Earth aboard Orion. 

Commercial Human Landers about Human Landing Systems
Side-by-side illustrations of the SpaceX Starship lunar lander and the Blue Origin Blue Moon lunar lander. Each is on the lunar surface, with astronauts nearby and Earth in the distance.
Side-by-side illustrations of the SpaceX Starship lunar lander and the Blue Origin Blue Moon lunar lander.
SpaceX/Blue Origin
Featured Story

How NASA’s Work Led to Commercial Spaceflight Revolution

For more than 60 years, NASA has pushed the boundaries of human exploration for the benefit of all, and now…

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FAQs

Commercial Space Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have questions? We have answers!

Learn more about low Earth orbit, legal, private astronaut missions, and commercial low Earth orbit partnerships through answers to a variety of frequently asked questions.

View FAQs about Commercial Space Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A view of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter with the Earth's atmospheric golden glow in the foreground at night was taken from the space station.
A view of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter with the Earth’s atmospheric golden glow in the foreground at night was taken from the space station.
NASA
This view of the north polar region of the Moon was obtained by NASA Galileo camera during the spacecraft flyby of the Earth-Moon system on December 7 and 8, 1992.
Artist rendition of a vehicle in space using propulsion.
Illustration of NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) on the surface of the Moon

The Lunar Economy

NASA is leading Artemis, humanity’s return to the Moon. With international partners and U.S. industry providers, the future at the Moon holds promise for a robust lunar marketplace.

Lunar Economy about The Lunar Economy

Location

Earth’s Moon

Formed

4.5 billion years ago

DISTANCE

250,000 miles from Earth

About

Commercial Lunar Payload Services

NASA is working with several American companies to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.

These companies, ranging in size, bid on delivering payloads for NASA. This includes everything from payload integration and operations, to launching from Earth and landing on the surface of the Moon. Under Artemis, commercial deliveries beginning in 2023 will perform science experiments, test technologies, and demonstrate capabilities to help NASA explore the Moon as it prepares for human missions.

Commercial Lunar Payload Services about Commercial Lunar Payload Services
Image of the Moon's surface taken by Lunar Orbiter 3
Image of the Moon’s surface taken by Lunar Orbiter 3.
NASA
Featured Story

What Is a Spacesuit?

A spacesuit is much more than a set of clothes astronauts wear on spacewalks. A fully equipped spacesuit is really…

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Commercial Space News

Stay up-to-date with the latest content from NASA as we explore the universe and discover more about our home planet.

NASA to Host a Pair of Briefings for Starliner Crew Flight
3 min read

Editor’s note: This media advisory was updated Thursday, April 18, 2024, to reflect a change in the participant list. NASA…

News Release
NASA Technology Helps Guard Against Lunar Dust
4 min read

Defeating dust may be a small concern for most people on Earth, but for astronauts and spacecraft destined for the…

Article
NASA Shares Medical Expertise with New Space Station Partners
5 min read

NASA is opening access to space for more people by working with private industry on the development of new commercial…

Article