Elon Musk’s space transport services company SpaceX will be taking astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The US space agency has ordered them the second mission.

SpaceX

Nasa made a statement saying, commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station will increase the time US crews can dedicate to scientific research and restore America’s human spaceflight launch capability. What that’ll do is it’ll help prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the Journey to Mars.

Under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts, it is the fourth and final guaranteed order NASA. To recall, while Boeing received their first two orders in May and December 2015 while SpaceX received their first order in November 2015.

Kathy Lueders, Manager of Nasa’s Commercial Crew Programme, said: “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.” Lueders further noted: “These systems will ensure reliable US crew rotation services to the station, and will serve as a lifeboat for the space station for up to seven months.”

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SpaceX won the contract after meeting the criteria and successfully completing interim developmental milestones and internal design reviews for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9 rocket, and associated ground systems. SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer, Gwynne Shotwell said: “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.”

Talking about the launch of the spacecraft, Orders under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts are made around two to three years before the actual mission starts to provide time for each company to manufacturing and assemble the launch vehicle and spacecraft. However, the company will have to successfully complete certification process before Nasa gives them the final green signal.

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