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NASA picks SpaceX Dragon for 6 more cargo resupply missions to space station

Many people believe Elon Musk is more focused on Tesla than on his other endeavors. Those who follow his activities, however, should be aware that he is working on far larger and more significant initiatives than Tesla. When we say this, we are referring to SpaceX. Remember this name because it will influence the course of human progress in the not-too-distant future. Our assumptions are based on what projects it is presently working on, how much it spends in them, who its clientele is, and other pertinent information. For example, we just discovered that NASA has expanded its Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) contracts to include 12 more flights. What is more, six of them have been assigned to SpaceX.

NASA’S CRS-2 Mission

Three American firms signed CRS-2 agreements with NASA in 2016. According to the contracts, those companies are responsible for ensuring that NASA and its international partners can continue to send research and cargo to the International Space Station. It is critical for the International Space Station’s crew members. They will not be able to perform scientific research and technological development if they don’t. The latter is beneficial not only to humans on Earth but also to NASA and its partners in completing their missions to the Moon and Mars.

The contracts’ total potential value cannot exceed $14 billion. However, NASA does not pay the whole sum in one go. We are referring to the fact that it dispatches missions as required. As a result, it pays payments in accordance with the tasks that have been assigned to it. Furthermore, the values vary from one mission to the next. Different orders will be sent to the firms that resupply cargo to the International Space Station in the near future.

SPACEX IS AN IMPORTANT PARTNER

For example, SpaceX launched NASA’s 23rd resupply mission on September 30, 2021. More than 4,800 pounds of scientific projects, crew supplies, and vehicle gear were transported to the orbiting outpost by the Cargo Dragon spacecraft.

Returning to the most recent orders, NASA gave Northrop Grumman six out of twelve. SpaceX has been granted the second round of resupply missions, which consists of six orders. Both should be able to feed the station with supplies until 2026.

However, this is not the first time NASA has expanded its mission portfolio. NASA added two flights to Northrop Grumman’s contract and three to SpaceX’s contract on October 16, 2020. Under the CRS-2 contracts, NASA ordered 32 cargo resupply flights in total. Northrop Grumman received 14 flights, Sierra Nevada Corporation (formerly Sierra Space) received three missions, and SpaceX received 15 missions. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, as you can see, is one of NASA’s most significant and dependable partners.

What do you think?

Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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