Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Today, NASA selected SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft to fly American astronauts to the International Space Station under the Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX is deeply honored by the trust NASA has placed in us, and we welcome today’s decision and the mission it advances with gratitude and seriousness of purpose. Under the $2.6 billion contract, SpaceX will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop the Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
As a modern, 21st century manned spacecraft, Crew Dragon will be capable of carrying up to seven crewmembers, landing propulsively almost anywhere on Earth, and refueling and flying again for rapid reusability. Dragon was designed from the beginning to carry humans, and the upgraded human-rated vehicle will be one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown. The vehicle holds seats for 7 passengers, and includes an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable environment for crewmembers.
Crew Dragon’s powerful launch escape system, the first of its kind, will provide escape capability from the time the crew enters the vehicle all the way to orbit. Should an emergency occur during launch, eight SuperDraco engines built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety.
This decision builds on SpaceX’s track record of successfully delivering critical cargo and science experiments to the space station for NASA. The Dragon spacecraft currently resupplies the space station under a $1.6 billion Cargo Resupply Services contract with NASA. A full press release from NASA can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/1ARuy6I
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