SpaceX $1.4 Billion More Contract NASA Launches
NASA expands partnership with SpaceX by awarding it five additional missions to transport astronauts to and from the ISS
The US space agency NASA has extended its partnership with SpaceX and awarded five additional crew flight missions to Elon Musk’s space company.
NASA announced on Wednesday that it has awarded “five additional missions to Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, for crew transportation services to the International Space Station.”
It has been a busy period for SpaceX. Last month, it signed a deal with US mobile operator T-Mobile US to extend the range of mobile phones in the United States – through the use of Starlink satellites.
SpaceX’s Chief Engineer Elon Musk and T-Mobile’s CEO Mike Sievert
NASA’s contract with SpaceX for five more missions to bring astronauts to the ISS is worth $1.4 billion.
NASA said the (CCtCap) contract change brings the total number of missions for SpaceX to 14 and “allows NASA to maintain uninterrupted U.S. capacity for human access to the space station through 2030, with two unique commercial crew industry partners.”
The move stems from mounting tensions with America’s main ISS partner (Russia), raising questions about the long-term future of the ISS.
Russia has said it will leave the International Space Station after 2024, amid mounting geopolitical tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
NASA insists it is confident that the space station will continue to operate as it has always done.
However, NASA cannot currently take control of the space station, as the Russian-controlled portion of the ISS provides the necessary propulsion to keep the space station in orbit.
“This is a fixed-price, indefinite supply/indefinite quantity contract change for the Crew-10, Crew-11, Crew-12, Crew-13, and Crew-14 flights,” NASA says of the contract with SpaceX . .
It said the $1.4 billion fee for all five missions and related mission services, includes ground, launch, in-orbit, and return and recovery operations, cargo transportation for each mission and a lifeboat capacity while on the International Space Station. is docked.
SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule
“The performance period will run through 2030, bringing the total CCtCap contract value with SpaceX to $4.9 billion,” the space agency said.
NASA says the purchase of additional missions will not prevent the US space agency “from seeking future contract changes for additional transport services if necessary.”
Astronaut Taxi Service
In 2014, NASA had awarded the CCtCap contracts to both Boeing and SpaceX.
Boeing’s space taxi, CST-100 Starliner, has been hampered by development and technical difficulties, leading to launch cancellations.
In May of this year, Boeing finally completed a successful launch of its astronaut space taxi, and the company is aiming for its inaugural manned mission in early 2023.
SpaceX, meanwhile, was certified by NASA for crew transportation in November 2020, and SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has already taken astronauts to the International Space Station several times.
NASA said SpaceX’s fourth crew rotation mission, the Crew-4 mission, is currently in orbit aboard the space station.
As part of the missions, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket will transport up to four astronauts, along with critical cargo, to the space station.
A fifth fully operational mission is scheduled to take off this fall.