"Public-private partnerships are the future of space exploration," Dava Newman, a former NASA deputy administrator who resigned before Trump took office, told CNBC on Tuesday. "I call it the new NASA."
In total, 22 companies — all American — have won contracts with the agency across a diverse range of sectors, from in-space manufacturing to engine development.
Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX will be delivering NASA astronauts to international space stations, while Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada and SpaceX will transport NASA cargo to space stations, said Newman, who is now chair of the Apollo Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
NASA is a part of the U.S. government but remains independent while still receiving federal funds — a structure originally conceived by McKinsey & Co. In the 1950s, the management consultancy suggested the idea of a separate government office dedicated to space research.