The bad news first: SpaceX is halting production of the Crew Dragons for the time being. The good news: The company wants to focus fully on the new Starship.
For space tourists and everyone who wants to become one: According to a report by Reuters, there will be no new Crew Dragons for the time being. SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell told Reuters that the company’s fourth space capsule to carry astronauts to the International Space Station is being completed. However, one wants to continue to produce spare parts, since the capsules have to be overhauled after each flight in Florida. “We can build more pods later if it really becomes necessary. But fleet management is the key to success,” says Shotwell.
Elon Musk’s company SpaceX originally developed the Crew Dragons for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to ferry agency astronauts back and forth from the ISS. In September last year, the company flew its first private crew, a group of four civilians. They made a three-day orbit.
On April 3, the Spanish-American astronaut Michael López-Alegría will fly to the ISS as a commander with three other astronauts in a Crew Dragon. The launch will be from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida, and the whole thing will be organized by the private space company Axiom in cooperation with the US space agency Nasa. The crew wants to stay on the ISS for around a week and meet, among other things, the German astronaut Matthias Maurer, who has been there since November.
4 people can be accommodated in a Crew Dragon
As Shotwell further said, many more ventures into space are planned, but they want to stay with a fleet size of four people. SpaceX, which still has a contract with NASA, plans to ferry crews to and from the space station every six months in the four space capsules named Endeavor, Resilience, Endurance, and Freedom. In February, NASA commissioned the company with three more manned missions to the ISS, which are to be carried out with a Crew Dragon.
While SpaceX has suspended production of the Crew Dragons, the company now wants to direct all resources toward the development of the new Starship rocket. The Starship is a huge vehicle designed to fly people to space destinations like the moon or Mars.