SpaceX is at the moment NASA’s solely licensed industrial crew transportation supplier.
In an announcement, NASA stated that it could want the extra flights “as early as 2026 to make sure dissimilar redundancy, keep secure space station operations”.
NASA introduced a “sole supply modification” as a part of its current Industrial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract with SpaceX.
Whereas the company has not disclosed the anticipated worth of the modified contract, it provides on to a $3.5 billion contract awarded to SpaceX in February for 3 further astronaut missions with its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule: Crew-7, Crew-8 and Crew-9. NASA had on the time stated that it could order extra flights from SpaceX.
“Our aim has at all times been to have a number of suppliers for crewed transportation to the area station. SpaceX has been reliably flying two NASA crewed missions per yr, and now we should backfill these flights to assist safely meet the company’s long-term wants,” stated Phil McAllister, director, industrial area at NASA, in an announcement.
SpaceX will fly its sixth rotational mission for NASA within the spring of 2023.
NASA, nevertheless, wants “further missions from SpaceX to implement our technique of getting every industrial supplier flying alternating missions as soon as per yr,” McAllister added.
In 2014, NASA had awarded the CCtCap contracts to Boeing and SpaceX via a public-private partnership as a part of the company’s Industrial Crew Programme.
Boeing’s latest Orbital Flight Check-2, which went effectively, offers hope to certify the Starliner system for future missions, NASA stated.
“The latest success of Boeing’s uncrewed flight check helps to solidify NASA’s long-term objectives,” stated Steve Stich, supervisor, NASA’s Industrial Crew Programme.
“It’s important we full Starliner’s improvement with out undue schedule stress whereas working to place each Boeing and SpaceX for sustainable operations within the years forward,” he famous.