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NASA has partnered with another company to continue space flights.

NASA moving on manned space missions

Atlas V rocket launching the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (credit: NASA/KSC)

Atlas V rocket launching the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (credit: NASA/KSC)

Space shuttle Atlantis departed from the International Space Station today. And its returns to Earth on Thursday morning will mark the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. But NASA isn’t wasting any time. The organization is already working on solutions to launch humans into space again as soon as possible.

According to the Huffington Post, a partnership was announced on Monday between NASA and Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA). The two will share data, as NASA evaluates ULA’s Atlas V rocket to determine whether or not the rocket can safely launch a manned craft into space.

The Denver Post reports that, “If human certification is determined, an Atlas V-powered private spacecraft could be launched ‘by mid-decade,'” according to Ed Mango, program manager of NASA’s commercial crew development program.

NASA already has a contract with another rocket company, SpaceX. NASA is going full-steam-ahead, working with several companies to ensure the exploration of the universe moves forward. But as the Denver Post points out, “ULA is the first rocket company to join NASA in studying the capabilities and limitations of its vehicles.”

About Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.