The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has given orders to launch a second ISS crew rotation mission from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. This step was announced on Friday when the agency felt the need to have more spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from International Space Station (ISS).
This latest move will reduce agency dependence on Russian Soyuz vehicles. The scientists are hopeful to sent astronaut regularly to the stars without costing the agency million of dollars. In contrast, a single ride with Roscosmos cost NASA million of dollars.
If launched successfully, it will be the fourth flight that the agency has ordered through its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts. NASA ordered its first order in May and December of 2015 and SpaceX received its first order in November 2015.
Currently, it remains unclear as to when the Dragon Crew Capsule will fly. But to increase research opportunities in space, the agency has partnered with Boeing and SpaceX to build a new generation of human-rated spacecraft. The new spacecraft will be capable of taking astronauts to space and back to the earth. Both the companies are doing everything in their power to not only carry out their first flight but to also accomplish this mission at the minimum cost.
Talking about this latest move Julie Robinson, NASA International Space Station chief scientists said,”Through this mission, we will be able to add seventh crew member to the space station which will give more time to conduct research.”
NASA has scheduled the first of the CCP mission in the year 2017. For now, it remains unclear as to whether SpaceX or Boeing will perform this mission. The current contract gives the option to the agency to include four additional spacecraft from each company.
For now, information is coming that the CST-100 will be launched from pad 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Dragon Capsule will be fired by SpaceX into the orbit using the company’s Falcon 9 booster.
Currently, the agency has to pay more than $80 million a seat to fly one single person into Space. But the CST-100 and Crew Dragon will not only decrease the cost of the transportation but promises to carry four-person crews to the lab complex.
The US spacecraft will also end NASA sole reliance on Russia for transportation. The agency will still fly astronaut aboard the Soyuz along with cosmonauts flying with CST-100 and New Dragon.