For NASA, sending astronauts to the international space station is no easy feat, especially when geopolitical tensions and financial problems are added to it! SpaceX will thus stop the construction of the Crew Dragon capsules.
SpaceX is at the end of its resources. Elon Musk’s company had to make cuts in its activities to promote the development of the Starship rocket, whose maiden flight was postponed for months. It’s the Crew Dragon space capsules that bear the brunt of it: SpaceX has built four units, but there won’t be a fifth on the horizon.
Who to take the astronauts to the ISS?
The manufacturer nevertheless specifies that if the need arose, it would have the possibility of assembling new ones, but ” fleet management is key “, reminded Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, to Reuters. A way of saying that NASA will have to manage the existing one and turn to other suppliers to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Like other SpaceX vehicles and rockets, the Crew Dragon is intended to be reused, a way to lower costs. However, not all parts that return from a trip in space 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 Crew Dragon for six flights to the ISS (including Thomas Pesquet’s). NASA has added three additional missions to compensate 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 Soyuz, the Russian rocket, because of tensions linked to the war in Ukraine. Russia has certainly honored its commitment to bring an American astronaut back to Earth, but Russian cooperation cannot be counted on in the future.