— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on July 16, Wednesday.
Welcome to the CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
We head over to Houston today, where Boeing is taking on Elon Musk's SpaceX to ferry astronauts to outer space, via a new private spaceship called "Space Taxi".
CNBC's Jane Wells got an inside look.
Tony Castilleja (Boeing systems engineer): "Hey, welcome to the spacecraft." (laugh)
Tony Castilleja wasn't even born when the space shuttle program began.
Castilleja: "We know we're making history again".
Now he's part of the team at Boeing trying to build its replacement.
Reporter: "So no welds?"
Castilleja: "No welds."
Reporter: "Has that ever been done before?"
Castilleja: "Never been done before."
Boeing is competing against Spacex and Colorado based Sierra Nevada to build a space taxi to the international space station, which will cost cheaper to fly than the 70 million dollars a seat NASA is currently paying the Russians. NASA wants one ready to go by 2017.
Spacex has so far grabbed most of the headlines in the competition, offering up a capsule and rocket which Elon Musk basically created from the ground up. Boeing, however, is offering NASA a system based on what has worked on the past.
John Mulholland (Boeing program manager): "I think especially in human space flight where you have to be error free, bringing in flight proven hardware and technology drives down the risk to humans."
Even the spacesuits look traditional-orange has always been the new black. But there are some changes for example look at this-its a Samsung tablet, a galaxy. All the astronauts will have them, if Boeing wins.
And that's a big 'if'. NASA has spent over a billion dollars seeding all three companies, and each company has had to invest some of its own money. That's part of NASA's new business model for low earth orbit, leasing space on a capsule it helped develop, allowing the builder to keep the capsule and lease the remaining space. Space adventures would like to use a seat on the Boeing capsule for tourists. Bigelow aerospace would like to lease the whole thing to set up space habitats. So Boeing has added things like blue lighting used in its commercial airliners.
Castilleja: "We're almost kind of like at an inflection in space travel- going from those military like interiors into this commercial airline feeling space flight".
NASA should announce a winner next month. But if Boeing loses, it's already reportedly bracing for layoffs.
Mulholland: "I think it will be difficult to close that business case without that backstop of NASA development funding."
A sign that space funding has changed with budgets. And figuring out how to survive in this new era really is rocket science. Jane wells, CNBC business news, Houston, Texas.
That wraps up this edition of the Business Daily.
I'm Qian Chen, reporting from CNBC's Asian headquarters.