NASA ordered five more astronaut missions from Musk’s SpaceX in a $1.4 billion deal

SpaceX will launch five more astronaut missions to the International Space Station for NASA by the end of the decade under a $1.4 billion contract order, the US space agency said Wednesday, the company for its Crew Dragon astronaut capsule. The total number of contracted missions has increased to 14.

The latest addition to SpaceX’s NASA contract is part of the agency’s effort to ensure a steady stream of astronaut flights to the space station as another company, Boeing, with a similar crew transport contract, relaunches its Starliner. have struggled to complete the development of the space capsule.

The award “allows NASA to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. capability for human access to the space station through 2030, with two unique partners from the commercial crew industry,” the agency said in a statement.

SpaceX and Boeing each won multibillion-dollar NASA contracts in 2014 to develop, test and routinely launch space capsule systems capable of launching them to and from the space station, a An orbital research lab that has housed an international crew of astronauts for two decades.

SpaceX’s reusable Crew Dragon capsule has flown five crewed missions for NASA since it was certified as crewed in 2020, when it became the first private company to send humans into orbit, and retired from the US space shuttle program in 2011. After that revived NASA’s human space flight program.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, plagued by software glitches and valve malfunctions, aims to fly its first crew of astronauts in February of next year, before NASA prepares the spacecraft for routine astronaut flights. to pass a final test mission.

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