© spacex Electronics Production | August 04, 2016
NASA orders second SpaceX crew mission to ISS
NASA has placed an order of a second post-certification mission from commercial provider SpaceX in Hawthorne, California.
The plan is to let commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station restore America’s human spaceflight launch capability and increase the time U.S. crews can dedicate to scientific research, which aims in helping prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the Journey to Mars. "The order of a second crew rotation mission from SpaceX, paired with the two ordered from Boeing will help ensure reliable access to the station on American spacecraft and rockets," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. "These systems will ensure reliable U.S. crew rotation services to the station, and will serve as a lifeboat for the space station for up to seven months." This is the fourth and final guaranteed order NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. Boeing received its two orders in May and December of 2015, and SpaceX received its first order in November 2015. Both companies have started planning for, building and testing the necessary hardware and assets to carry out their first flight tests, and ultimately missions for the agency. At a later time, NASA will identify which company will fly the first post-certification mission to the space station. Each provider’s contract includes a minimum of two and a maximum potential of six missions. "We’re making great progress with Crew Dragon, with qualification of our docking adapter and initial acceptance testing of the pressure vessel qualification unit completed" said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate the trust NASA has placed in SpaceX with the order of another crew mission and look forward to flying astronauts from American soil next year." SpaceX is building four Crew Dragon spacecraft at its Hawthorne facility – two for qualification testing and two for flight tests next year.