In accordance with the Commercial Personnel Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has recently been given five further trips by NASA to carry crew to the ISS. The overall value of all transport flights under the contract is $4.9 billion, while the new arrangement, which expands upon the current agreement between NASA and SpaceX, is valued at $1.4 billion.
Up to four people will be transported using SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which will also serve as the launch, transport, and landing vehicle for the Falcon 9 rocket. Given that NASA notified the public in June that it was seeking to acquire extra missions, this news is not wholly unexpected. NASA had planned to provide SpaceX with a single source modification at the time for five more crewed flights.
Additionally, this is the most recent case in which NASA has extended the CCtCap contract. The space agency extended it and offered more flights earlier this year after first awarding it to SpaceX in 2014 for $2.6 billion. A further $900 million was given for the Crew-7, Crew-8, and Crew-9 missions at that time. Furthermore, Boeing was given a CCtCap contract worth up to $4.2 billion for six crewed flights utilizing its Starliner capsule.
It’s nothing new that SpaceX and NASA get along well. Despite opposition from rival space business Blue Origin, the US space agency granted SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to explore the moon in August 2021. The agreement said that SpaceX will use its Starship rockets to launch personnel to the moon’s surface for NASA’s Artemis mission.
Bezos’ space business sued NASA in federal court over the issue, but it ultimately lost in November when the judge rejected its request to have NASA’s award of the contract to SpaceX reversed. SpaceX now has an additional $1.4 billion in its pocket as a result of the most recent contract modification, which also strengthens its status as one of the top private space enterprises in the world.
According to a press release, “allowing NASA to preserve an unbroken U.S. capacity for human access to the international space station through 2030, with two distinct commercial launch partner companies,” the “firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract” update to the deal increases the number of trips for SpaceX to 14.
The extra expenditure of $1.4 billion for the Crew-10, Crew-11, Crew-12, Crew-13, and Crew-14 trips will not be limited to the transfer of crew members and cargo; rather, it will comprise ground, launch, in-orbit, and return and recovery activities, as well as a lifeboat capability while the spacecraft is docked to the ISS.
Other SpaceX plans
SpaceX is hardly ever completely static. The firm just signed up yet another commercial client to utilize its reusable Starship rocket to launch satellites in addition to these planned crewed ISS missions in collaboration with NASA, as we previously reported. Superbird-9, a communications satellite from the aforementioned client Sky Perfect JSat, will be put into geosynchronous transfer orbit in 2024.
The next-generation launch vehicle from SpaceX is called Starship. Due to its complete reusability, the cost of launches will be significantly decreased. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, expects that this significant cost decrease would enable the company to fly humans to Mars.
Source: The Tech Portal