For NASA, sending astronauts to the International Space Station is no easy feat, especially when geopolitical tensions and financial problems add to it! SpaceX will therefore stop building Crew Dragon capsules.
SpaceX is at the end of its resource. Elon Musk was forced to make cuts in its activities to promote the development of the Starship missile, the first flight of which was postponed for several months. It is the Crew Dragon space capsules that bear the brunt of it: SpaceX has built four units, but there won’t be a fifth in sight.
Who will take astronauts to the International Space Station?
However, the manufacturer specifies that if the need arises, it will have the possibility to assemble new products, but ” Fleet management is key ‘,” Gwen Shotwell, president of SpaceX, recalled Reuters. A way of saying that NASA will have to manage the existing roster and turn to other suppliers to get astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Like other SpaceX vehicles and rockets, the Crew Dragon is supposed to be reused, a way to cut costs. However, not all parts that come back from a space trip can necessarily be used again for a new trip.
The US space agency has already invested $3.5 billion in SpaceX to develop and operate the Crew Dragon for six flights to the International Space Station (including Thomas Pesquet’s). NASA has added three additional missions to make up for the delay of the Starliner, the Boeing capsule on which all hopes rest.
The problem is that NASA can no longer really rely on the Russian Soyuz missile, due to the tensions associated with the war in Ukraine. Russia has certainly fulfilled its obligation Returning an American astronaut to EarthBut we should not count on Russian cooperation in the future.