5 private companies taking over NASA's suborbital flights

Step aside, bloated and inefficient government agency: private industry is rapidly tearing down what was once the domain of only the most powerful of nations. NASA has surrendered to progress by contracting out suborbital flights to a handful of commercial space companies.

With a few exceptions, most commercial launch companies are focused on reaching "space," where those quotes refer to the fact that we're talking about crossing a technical and somewhat arbitrary altitude line as opposed to making it up into what most people think of as "space," which would be orbit. This is not to say that space by any definition is easy to reach or that it's not a useful place to hang out for a little bit: there are all kinds of experiments need either a boatload of altitude or a few minutes of weightlessness to work properly, and there are a few companies that are currently able to provide these capabilities.

It's not only cheaper for NASA to subcontract missions like these to commercial partners, but it's also better overall, since it encourages the development of private spaceflight technology that will one day offer regular schmucks like you and me the chance to experience some seriously incredible views. In the gallery below, check some of the companies who have been chosen to start ferrying NASA payloads into space.

NASA, via Network World

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