Last Updated: Wednesday, January 09, 2013, 2:45 PM EST
NASA is betting on several private companies to help take Americans back to space.
Wednesday, those four private companies will be at the Kennedy Space Center for an update on their efforts.
NASA is investing more than a billion dollars into these companies, with the hope they’ll be able to launch humans from here on the Space Coast once again.
Currently, NASA relies on Russia to get astronauts to the International Space Station.
The companies represented at a press conference will be SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin.
SpaceX has already proven they can send a spaceship to the International Space Station. They did so, just with cargo on board, twice last year.
They, along with Boeing and Sierra Nevada just received $10 million from NASA to begin certifying their spaceships to one day safely transport humans to the ISS. That’s on top of a billion dollars they received back in August to develop their spaceships.
Boeing is constructing the CST-100 and Sierra Nevada has the Dream Chaser, which looks like a mini-space shuttle.
Blue Origin, which was set up by the founder of Amazon.com, is also working towards bringing humans to space.
NASA said SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada have chosen to base their launch operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and it’s expected they’ll bring hundreds of high paying jobs to the area in the next 5 years.
NASA hopes these companies will carry astronauts to space by 2017.
NASA hopes that by having these companies work on getting astronauts to the ISS, NASA can focus on its efforts to launch humans to deep space. They’re working on the Orion capsule at the space center and it’s hoped they’ll be able to launch humans to the moon, Mars, or even an asteroid.