NASA officially certifies SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft for human spaceflights
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US has officially certified Elon Musk-owned SpaceX to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) on its Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket. With this, SpaceX's Crew Dragon has become the first-ever new crew spacecraft to receive NASA's certification since the space shuttle program was launched 40 years ago. Here's more.
'Years of design, development, and testing'
"Years of design, development, and testing have culminated in NASA officially certifying the first commercial spacecraft system in history capable of transporting humans to and from the International Space Station as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program," wrote NASA on its website. Notably, under this program, the development and testing of Crew Dragon were largely funded by NASA over the past six years.
An incredible achievement from NASA and SpaceX: NASA chief
"I'm extremely proud to say we are returning regular human spaceflight launches to American soil on an American rocket and spacecraft," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "This certification milestone is an incredible achievement from NASA and SpaceX that highlights the progress we can make working together with commercial industry," added the chief of the American space agency.
A historic milestone for NASA and SpaceX
The certification, which is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, marks a historic milestone for the American space agency as well as Musk's space company. NASA said that the signing of the Human Rating Certification Plan for SpaceX's crew transportation system was completed on Tuesday. "NASA completed the signing of the Human Rating Certification Plan...after a thorough Flight Readiness Review," the agency stated.
Could not be more proud of everyone at SpaceX: Musk
"Thank you to NASA for their continued support of SpaceX and partnership in achieving this goal," said Musk. "I could not be more proud of everyone at SpaceX and all of our suppliers who worked incredibly hard to develop, test, and fly the first commercial human spaceflight system in history to be certified by NASA," he added.
'Inspires confidence in endeavor to help humanity become multi-planetary'
"This is a great honor that inspires confidence in our endeavor to return to the Moon, travel to Mars, and ultimately help humanity become multi-planetary," said Musk. "Today's signing is about...people across NASA, SpaceX and other groups that came together to complete an unbelievable amount of hard work to accomplish this task," said Kathy Lueders, Associate Administrator-NASA's Human Exploration and Operation Mission Directorate.
First operational spaceflight scheduled for November 14
In its first operational flight, the Crew Dragon spaceship will ferry four astronauts to the ISS for a six-month mission. They include NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. "Crew Dragon is targeting launch on a Falcon 9 on...November 14 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center," stated NASA.