On Wednesday, NASA announced that SpaceX will launch five more astronaut missions to the International Space Station for the space agency at the end of the decade under a $1.4 billion contract order.
This is part of the agency’s effort to ensure a steady run of astronaut flights to the space station as Boeing BA.N, the other company with a similar crew transportation contract, has struggled to complete the development of its Starliner space capsule. The award “allows NASA to maintain an uninterrupted US capability for human access to the space station until 2030, with two unique commercial crew industry partners,” the agency said in a statement.
The extra flights fall under NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which delivers astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX is currently on its fourth operational human spaceflight for the agency.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has been competing with Boeing and its Starliner capsule for contracts under Commercial Crew. While both companies have now been awarded nearly $5 billion to develop and launch their respective capsules, SpaceX has won 14 missions and Boeing has garnered six.