Space

SpaceX receives order for second manned mission

SpaceX receives order for seco...
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station

SpaceX has been awarded a second post-certification mission order for its Crew Dragon manned spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA says that the new contract, which could lead to as many as six flights, will put the United States back into the manned spaceflight game and free US crews to spend more time on scientific research.

Today's award marks the fourth and final guaranteed order by NASA under its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program. Boeing received two orders in May and December of 2015 for its Starliner spacecraft, and SpaceX got its first order in November 2015. Both companies are charged with building and testing their spacecraft and support facilities, then, after certification, flying at least two and up to six missions each to the ISS.

No dates have been set for the first missions and nor has it been determined which spacecraft will fly first, but CCtCap contracts are made two to three years prior to actual mission dates. This allows SpaceX and Boeing time to assemble their launch vehicles and spacecraft as well as completing the certification process.

SpaceX is making four Crew Dragon spacecraft – two for qualification testing and two for flight tests in 2017. During missions to the ISS, the Crew Dragon will carry up to four NASA or NASA-sponsored astronauts and about 220 lb (100 kg) of pressurized cargo to the ISS. It will remain at the station for up to 210 days to act as an emergency lifeboat.

"With the commercial crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX, we will soon add a seventh crew member to space station missions, which will significantly increase the amount of crew time to conduct research," says Julie Robinson, NASA's International Space Station chief scientist. "Given the number of investigations waiting for the crew to be able to complete their research, having more crew members will enable NASA and our partners to significantly increase the important research being done every day for the benefit of all humanity."

Source: NASA

5 comments
Howe
Many more orders will come in the future. It has the best tech & the best price...easy decision.
JamesDemello
I do appreciate the work NASA scientists are doing in space but astronauts are little more than hamsters in space. The days of the Right Stuff are gone.
P17
Good luck with that, especially the bit about benefiting all humanity, which usually just means the US 1%.
habakak
Hopefully NASA will eventually just sign with SpaceX. The ULA (Boeing is part of that) is stuck on old technology. Since they had the market cornered for so long (Boeing, Lockheed Martin and the rest) they never bothered to push the technology. I will surely not miss their share in this race once they drop out. Boeing and LM will live on, but not in the space race unless they innovate.
Lbrewer42
YES! Another slap in the face for the obama mindset that tried to make us rely upon other countries to get our men into space by deliberately and prematurely cancelling the still useful Space Shuttle program. Never before was a system like this cancelled before a fallback of better tech was already in place so we could retain our lead.
Its great to see how the anti-American mindset has once again backfired on the perpetrators by inspiring Yankee Ingenuity to step up to the plate and make sure, despite anti-Amercian policies, America stays in the lead. I have a feeling it won't be red-tape hindered NASA who reaches Mars first.