NASA awards SpaceX $1.4 billion in contracts for 5 more astronaut missions

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Crew Dragon capsule, lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Saturday, May 30, 2020. The SpaceX Demo-2 mission is the primary crewed launch of an orbital spaceflight from the U.S. in almost a decade.

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

NASA on Wednesday introduced it has awarded 5 more astronaut missions to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with a contract price an extra $1.4 billion to the corporate.

The further flights fall beneath NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which delivers astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX is presently on its fourth operational human spaceflight for the company.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has been competing with Boeing and its Starliner capsule for contracts beneath Commercial Crew. While each firms have now been awarded almost $5 billion to develop and launch their respective capsules, SpaceX has gained 14 missions and Boeing has gained six. The latter has but to launch astronauts with Starliner.

Due to delays, and the fixed-price nature of NASA’s contracts for this system, Boeing has absorbed $688 million in prices from delays and extra work on the capsule. After efficiently finishing an uncrewed Starliner flight to the ISS in May, the corporate now goals to hold astronauts for the primary time in February.

Between SpaceX and Boeing, the company has awarded contracts for 20 flights so far, masking crew missions till 2030 when the ISS is predicted to retire from use.

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