SpaceX wins NASA approval to launch astronauts on reused rockets, spacecraft

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SpaceX appears to have won NASA's approval to launch astronauts on reused Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon spacecraft a matter of days after the company's astronaut launch debut went off without a hitch. Ever since SpaceX began landing and reusing orbital-class Falcon 9 boosters some 15 months after it won a NASA contract to …
SpaceX appears to have won NASA's approval to launch astronauts on reused Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon spacecraft a matter of days after the company's astronaut launch debut went off without a hitch.

Ever since SpaceX began landing and reusing orbital-class Falcon 9 boosters some 15 months after it won a NASA contract to develop Crew Dragon, the obvious possibility that the two groundbreaking technologies might one day meet has always floated just under the surface. Almost without fail, most joint NASA/SpaceX press conferences will receive a question or two about whether either party is thinking about or working towards astronaut launches on flight-proven spacecraft. Encouraged by the fact that partner Boeing's separate Starliner spacecraft was sold to NASA with reusability in mind from the start, those questions continued up until (and after) the day SpaceX became the first private company in history to launch astronauts into orbit.

In a wholly unexpected turn of events, a modification to SpaceX's ~$3.1 billion NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP) contract was spotted on June 3rd. Without leaving much room for interpretation, the contract tweak states that SpaceX is now "[allowed to reuse] the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Crew Dragon spacecraft beginning with" its second operational astronaut launch, known as Post Certification Mission-2 (PCM-2) or Crew-2. Given the spectacular, hiccup-free success of SpaceX's inaugural astronaut launch and International Space Station (ISS) arrival just 3-4 days prior, it's safe to say that NASA is extremely happy with the results of the mission.

That was really fast. https://t.co/JJu7HjwSwp — Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) June 3, 2020

SpaceX could soon reuse the vast majority of rocket and spacecraft hardware involved in its astronaut launches, potentially dramatically cutting the cost of sending humans into orbit. (Richard Angle)

Without a shred of doubt, SpaceX…
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