Orbital Sciences’ rocket exploded and crashed just after launching last week. It was scheduled to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
The National Transportation Safety Board is now looking into the incident that killed one pilot and injured another.
Before a new machine or good heads into space, it’s helpful to test it on a suborbital flight where a specialized plane flies in arcs to simulate weightlessness. NASA announced today that Masten Space Systems, Paragon Space Development Corp., Up Aerospace Inc. and Virgin Galactic are the newest commercial space companies that will will fly its suborbital flights. Each extendable three-year contract is worth at least $100,000.