Virgin Galactic, XCOR land suborbital contracts with NASA

Have $200,000 to spare for a ticket to space? NASA does, apparently, a few times over. Following the retirement of its Space Shuttle program, the US agency just announced two-year contracts with seven space flight companies, worth a combined $10 million. NASA will partner with Virgin Galactic, XCOR, and five other companies to bring engineers, scientists, and equipment to space, for a variety of experiments in low-gravity environments. The contract provides few financial implications for Virgin, which has already collected $55 million in deposits from future space tourists, but the company did acknowledge it as an "important milestone" in its efforts to grow beyond initial consumer offerings. Space Adventures, which serves as a low-cost carrier of sorts in the industry with its $102,000 flight, may be represented as well, through its partner Armadillo Aerospace -- so it's probably safe to assume that NASA won't be paying two large huge a pop to blast its personnel to space.