One of the greatest strengths in human beings’ arsenal talks to how easily we can adjust under different circumstances. This allows us to stay flexible, and consequentially, open to achieve a wide range of objectives. Now, when you are targeting such an expansive surface, you are likely to hit on much more meaningful stuff than you would otherwise, and that’s exactly the way cookie has crumbled for us. Nevertheless, despite having clocked some really high altitudes, our most valuable achievement only came once technology turned up on the block. You see, technology became such a significant addition to our lives because it was quick to move beyond the point of being just a helpful tool. Instead, the creation dedicated itself to reinventing our entire identity as a society. The move will pay off big time, and the evidence for the same will be apparent throughout the spectrum, including our global space industry. Space ambition was literally not a thing before technology entered the picture, except it’s now a full-fledged revolution, a revolution which is growing rather steadily on the back of ideas like space tourism and starting life on mars. In fact, looking at NASA’s recent decision, we can expect it to grow even more over the next few years.
NASA has officially decided to extend SpaceX’s Commercial Crew contract by three missions. Under the new agreement, SpaceX will be tasked with fulfilling Crew-7, Crew-8 and Crew-9 space assignments. Notably enough, the extension takes SpaceX’s total Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract upto $3.49 billion. The Elon Musk-owned company has already launched Crew 1 through Crew 3 to the Intentional Space Station, while it is also slated to move forward with another three flights by 2023. However, as per the current terms, SpaceX overall period of performance now runs all the way till March 31, 2028.
“It’s critical we begin to secure additional flights to the space station now so we are ready as these missions are needed to maintain a U.S. presence on station. Our U.S. human launch capability is essential to our continued safe operations in orbit and to building our low-Earth orbit economy,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate.
At present, SpaceX is the only US organization permitted to send crew to the ISS. Boeing does have a six-mission CCtCap contract in its back pocket, but with the company’s Starliner spacecraft still in unscrewed testing phase, there is some time before it can actively work upon the $4.2 billion deal.
From a more long-term standpoint, though, NASA will hope that both SpaceX and Boeing can work together to deliver on their marketing pitch, as that consolidation would help the country’s space cause like nothing else.