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WASHINGTON -- NASA has picked three aerospace companies, including Boeing, to build small rocketships to take astronauts to the International Space Station.

This is the third phase of NASA's efforts to get private space companies to take over the job of the now-retired space shuttle. The space agency is giving them more than $1.1 billion.

Once the spaceships are built, NASA plans to hire the private companies to taxi astronauts into space within five years. Until they are ready, NASA is paying Russia to do the job

The other two companies are Space Exploration Technologies, called SpaceX,, and Sierra Nevada Corp.

NASA's commercial crew development program started with seven commercial companies.


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