SpaceX 2017: NASA Books Six Space Missions Under Billion Dollar ContractBy Jane Reed, UniversityHerald Reporter
The had a few glitches last year. There was an explosion on the launch pad and a few launch date delays but it looks like SpaceX's 2017 and 2018 are going to be busy.
That is because NASA has recently awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX more things to work on. Initially, Boeing and SpaceX had two crew flights contracted for 2018. Then NASA decided to award a total of six flights to each of the companies.
Phil McAlister, the director of NASA's Commercial Spaceflight Development Division, said that awarding these flight missions will supply more crew rotation schedules and reduce financial doubtfulness. Additional flights would mean that NASA can meet the needs of the International Space Station and the space station program.
These six crew flights are not ordinary flights. These are the commercial crew vehicles for human space flight, as reported by Aviaton Week. Both companies are under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability program. The contract holds a $6.8 billion price tag which will enable humans to get to space via taxi flights.The crew will end up at the International Space Station.
NASA had to depend on boarding Russia's spacecraft to fly astronauts to the ISS. Although NASA will still fly with Russia's Roscosmos in 2018, acquiring more flights with Boeing and SpaceX seems to make more sense.
More astronaut flights from SpaceX means more missions for the Dragon spacecraft. For Boeing, their CST-100 Starliner is going to get the trips. That means 2017 is going to be a busy year in order to make these flights successful in 2018, as reported by Space.com.
The new space mission schedule includes an uncrewed mission in November and a crewed mission in May 2018 for SpaceX. The Dragon spacecraft can carry up to four astronauts and a hundred kilos of cargo to the space station. Aside from shuttling astronauts and supplies, they can also act as emergency life boats.
Aside from these missions, SpaceX is still working on putting humans in Mars: