NASA has agreed to a $1.4 billion deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX for five additional astronaut missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
The newly extended agreement will add to past expeditions by SpaceX.
“NASA has awarded five additional missions to Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, for crew transportation services to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract,” NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The CCtCap modification brings the total missions for SpaceX to 14 and allows NASA to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. capability for human access to the space station until 2030, with two unique commercial crew industry partners,” it added.
The additional plans bring NASA’s total contract value with SpaceX to approximately $4.93 billion. The agreement also allows for the potential of adding additional human flight services in the future.
SpaceX has used its Crew Dragon capsule for five crewed missions since 2020, becoming the first private company to launch humans into orbit.
The next SpaceX crew mission to be announced is Crew-5, scheduled for October 3 from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. NASA is inviting digital content creators to attend the special launch that will carry four astronauts to the ISS.
The participating crew members include “NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and mission specialists Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina,” according to a statement from NASA.
In July, SpaceX launched its most recent ISS mission carrying 5,800 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo. The mission marked the 25th commercial launch by NASA.
Among the experiments on board was a project by scientists growing stem cells in space in an effort to discover new ways to produce large batches of certain stem cells to treat a variety of diseases. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are behind the program that delivered stem cells to the ISS.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, in April, NASA and SpaceX launched the first all-private crew to the ISS from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.