NASA won’t should lean on Russia once more to ferry astronauts to the Worldwide House Station. Ars Technica notes the company has bought 5 further crewed ISS flights from SpaceX, or sufficient to keep up “uninterrupted” US staffing aboard the station till its anticipated 2030 demise. Whereas NASA nonetheless intends to make use of Boeing’s Starliner, the brand new SpaceX missions might be mandatory to satisfy plans for alternating between the 2 corporations as soon as each are an choice.
The additional flights may very well be used as quickly as 2026. They will assist with redundancy and preserve the ISS working safely if any issues stop Boeing or SpaceX from launching in a well timed vogue, NASA mentioned. At current, SpaceX is the one non-public firm licensed to fly astronauts. Boeing is not anticipated to fly its first operational mission till 2023.
This won’t deprive Boeing of extra possibilities to fly astronauts to the ISS. If NASA does not order extra flights, nonetheless, the corporate could have missed its large likelihood to one-up SpaceX. The present association supplies a complete of 14 Crew Dragon missions versus simply six Starliner journeys — the aerospace big could have misplaced a big chunk of its potential enterprise to a relative newcomer.
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