SpaceX secures five more NASA astronaut missions as part of a $1.4 billion contract

As expected, NASA has ordered five more astronaut missions from SpaceX in a new $1.44 billion contract, bringing Crew Dragon’s total number of launches to 14. Designed to ensure a steady flow of crew members to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX rival Boeing is struggling to get its own Starliner crew system ready for launch.

The latest award “enables NASA to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. human access capability to the space station through 2030, with two unique commercial crew industry partners,” the space agency said in a press release. This brings the total Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with SpaceX to $4.93 billion.

SpaceX was certified to carry crews in November 2020 and launched its latest Crew 4 mission on April 27, 2022. Earlier this year, NASA announced it would order three additional missions for $900 million, replacing its original contract from $2.6 billion to $3.49 billion.

All of this comes at the expense of Boeing, which has suffered numerous delays with its Starliner capsule compatible with ULA’s Atlas V and other rockets. After a long delay due to valve problems, the latest unmanned test flight took off on May 19 this year, with the capsule returning to Earth six days later. The first manned flight was originally planned for 2017, but has not yet taken off. Boeing and NASA are now aiming for the first mission with astronauts in early 2023.

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