In a press release issued on February 28, 2022, NASA announced his desire to extend his contract with SpaceX. Elon Musk’s company will continue to transport astronauts to the ISS, at least until 2028.
Nine missions with Crew Dragon until 2028
An initial €2 billion contract was awarded to SpaceX in 2014 to allow the company to develop new vehicles to send astronauts to the International Space Station. Elon Musk’s company kept its promises: Crew-1, Crew-2 and Crew-3 were real successes. SpaceX’s technologies work very well, and NASA therefore decides to extend the duration of the contract. Until 2028, there will therefore be nine missions.
According to Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, “It is important that we begin now to provide additional flights to the space station to be ready when these missions are needed to maintain a regular U.S. presence in space.”. It specifies that the US launch capability is essential to the continuation of operations in orbit and the construction of a new model in low Earth orbit.
NASA has full confidence in SpaceX
SpaceX had already planned to launch Crew-4, Crew-5 and Crew-6, but now we also have to anticipate the launches of Crew-7, Crew-8 and Crew-9. An ideal new contract for Elon Musk’s growing business. In its press release, NASA acknowledges that SpaceX is currently the only American company certified to transport astronauts to the ISS.
Boeing has fallen far behind… At the same level as SpaceX in 2014, the American company is still in the testing phase with its spacecraft. Another test flight is planned for May 2022. Eventually, NASA would like SpaceX and Boeing to work together to transport astronauts to the ISS. The US is proud to have the technologies again send teams to the space station.
The change in the contract between NASA and SpaceX comes in a special context, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. For many years (between 2006 and 2020), American astronauts was to travel with the help of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the Soyuz spacecraft. NASA paid the Russian agency 80 million euros per astronaut to the Russian agency, compared to 50 million euros for SpaceX.