SpaceX Awarded NASA Contract for Crewed ISS Launches

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has re-established an American human launch capability, flying astronauts regularly to the International Space Station. [Credit: NASA]

NASA has announced that three additional crewed missions to the International Space Station will be carried out by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The private space company has been working with NASA for years, and this move, announced Monday, will extend the partnership to March 31, 2028. SpaceX will help send astronauts to the ISS as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract (CCtCap).

The price of the contract is fixed, including indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity for the Crew-7, Crew-8, and Crew-9 missions—for a total of nearly $3.5 billion.

SpaceX and Boeing were originally awarded CCtCap contracts in 2014 as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

In order for the private companies to qualify to support NASA missions, they must meet all operational requirements prior to launching crewed missions. SpaceX gained its crew launch certification in November 2020 and currently has its third crew rotation in orbit.

SpaceX’s most recent crewed mission, Crew-3, became the company’s fifth crewed spaceflight to the ISS since May 2020. The crew made their trip onboard a Dragon crew capsule, sitting on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

“What a beautiful evening for a launch. It was another great experience seeing those four guys take off into space on top of that Falcon 9 on that Dragon,” said NASA associate administrator Bob Cabana in a statement. “It is a huge challenge to safely get humans to and from low-Earth orbit, and the partnerships that we have with our international partners and our commercial crew partners has enabled this space economy that we have right now. What a great time to be part of America’s space program.”

According to the Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX’s next all-private crewed launch to the ISS is scheduled for March 30, for its Axiom Mission 1.

Jeremy attained his bachelor's in journalism and emerging media from Kennesaw State University. He also served in the Georgia Air National Guard as a C-130 Crew Chief for six years, holding an associate in aircraft maintenance technology.

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