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Boeing will be the first commercial company to carry a NASA astronaut to space in July 2017 under a contract with the US space agency, followed by its competitor SpaceX, officials said Monday. NASA is funneling billions of dollars to both companies so that they can replace American access to the orbiting International Space Station after the US space shuttle program was retired in 2011. The announcement of $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX was made in September 2014. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied the protest by Sierra Nevada earlier this month, allowing NASA and its partners to speak publicly about the contracts and future plans for test flights.
A small drone crash-landed on the grounds of the White House early Monday, prompting officials to declare a security lockdown until they were able to determine that it posed no risk. The device was spotted shortly after 3:00 am (0800 GMT) by a uniformed Secret Service officer on the south grounds of the White House complex, the US Secret Service said in a statement. The drone was operated by a government employee who told the Secret Service he did not mean to fly the device over the White House grounds, the New York Times reported. The man, who was being questioned, does not work for the White House, the paper said, citing law enforcement officials, who added the Secret Service so far believed the man's account of events.