NASA has given SpaceX five additional crewed transportation missions worth $1.4 billion.

Posted on

As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, NASA has now given Elon Musk’s SpaceX five more trips to transport crew to the International Space Station (ISS).

The new deal, which expands upon the earlier agreement between NASA and SpaceX, is worth $1.4 billion, bringing the total cost of all transport flights covered by the contract to $4.9 billion. Up to four astronauts will be transported using SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which will also serve as the launch, transport, and landing vehicle for the Falcon 9 rocket.

Given that NASA said in June that it was looking to purchase additional missions, this news is not altogether unexpected. NASA had planned to provide SpaceX a sole source modification at the time for five more crewed missions.

Additionally, this is the most recent case in which NASA has extended the CCtCap contract. The space agency later decided to prolong it and give extra missions earlier this year after initially awarding SpaceX the contract for $2.6 billion in 2014. The missions Crew-7, Crew-8, and Crew-9 received an additional $900 million at that time. Boeing was also given a CCtCap contract for up to $4.2 billion for six crewed Starliner flights.

It’s nothing new that SpaceX and NASA get along well. Despite opposition from rival space business Blue Origin, the US space agency awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to explore the moon in August 2021. The agreement said that SpaceX will use its Starship rockets to launch personnel to the moon’s surface for NASA’s Artemis program.

Bezos’ space company filed a federal lawsuit against NASA in response to the issue, but lost in November when a federal judge denied its bid to reverse NASA’s choice to award SpaceX with the contract.

And now, the most recent modification to the contract puts an additional $1.4 billion in SpaceX’s pockets and further establishes its place as one of the world’s top private space enterprises.

According to a press release, the “firm fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract” modification to the contract “allows NASA to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. capability for human access to the space station until 2030, with two unique commercial crew industry partners.” It increases the total number of missions for SpaceX to 14.

In addition to personnel and cargo transportation missions, the additional $1.4 billion for the Crew-10, Crew-11, Crew-12, Crew-13, and Crew-14 trips will cover ground, launch, in-orbit, return, and recovery activities, as well as a lifeboat capability when docked to the ISS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *