NASA has given the go-ahead to SpaceX to send astronauts into space using the Crew Dragon, mounted on the Falcon 9 booster.
It officially clears SpaceX to send the crew of 4 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). While it’s not the company’s first human mission, the one before this was a demo of the company’s preparedness.
NASA conducted a two-day flight readiness review of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship and Falcon 9 rocket, certifying the company for human missions. The agency issued the certificate under the Human Rating Certification Plan after a thorough review.
“This certification milestone is an incredible achievement from NASA and SpaceX that highlights the progress we can make working together with commercial industry,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
The space agency issued a certificate after analyzing the minor changes made by SpaceX post-Demo-2 test flight conducted this summer. These changes include modifications done to the heat shield and a sensor that shoots a parachute during the capsule’s descent.
Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX, released a statement after obtaining the certificate. He said, “Thank you to NASA for their continued support of SpaceX and partnership in achieving this goal. 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.”
The certificate paves the way for the launch of the Crew-1 mission on Nov. 14 at 7:49 p.m. Eastern from the Kennedy Space Center. The flight will carry NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Vic Glover and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the ISS.