SpaceX got its official order from NASA to launch a manned mission to the International Space Station.
NASA announced the order Friday. Space X would send the crew from the Space Coast onboard a Falcon 9 rocket using the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The space agency is making four guaranteed orders under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts.
Boeing received the first crew mission order in May, which would fly on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. However, NASA said it does not know yet whether Boeing or SpaceX will send the first mission. That will depend on whether the contractors meet all readiness requirements.
Currently American astronauts fly to the ISS onboard Russian spacecraft. Once these private companies start taking astronauts to space, NASA says it will reduce the cost of transportation for the agency.
However, NASA also says it needs Congress to fully fund the CCtCap contracts for 2016 and beyond. If not, it will mean more delays and a continued reliance on Russia to transport our astronauts.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is planning to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station next month.