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NASA Hands Out Contracts To Reduce Space Reliance On Russia

The U.S. space agency NASA has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners of the competition on September 16 at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should eventually take place.

The deal will end NASA's expensive and strategically awkward reliance on Russia to ferry astronauts to the space station.

U.S. astronauts have been riding Russian rockets ever since NASA retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011.

NASA has set a goal of 2017 for the first launch under the program.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP and AP