NASA to pay SpaceX more for servicing ISS from 2020
28 April 2018
NASA is facing a 50 per cent jump in the cost of delivering cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2020, adding up to about $400 million, because of a hike by SpaceX, the supplier.
But Dragon 2, the redesigned SpaceX capsule, will carry about 30 per cent more cargo, run longer missions and enable NASA to access scientific samples much earlier before returning to earth, reveals a new NASA audit.
The American agency has also decided to use a third company – besides SpaceX and Orbital – from 2020. Sierra Nevada will launch resupply missions using its Dream Chaser spacecraft.
But despite paying higher prices, NASA says it does not regret using private companies for resupply missions to the ISS.
“NASA officials reviewed past launch pricing and found the cost for a basic Atlas V configuration decreased by roughly $20 million per launch after the Falcon 9 became eligible in 2013 to compete for launch services contracts through the agency's Launch Services Program,” said the report.
The ISS has been orbiting the earth, with astronauts on board, for nearly 18 years. The agency has to constantly keep delivering the necessities for these astronauts, who are also replaced frequently and brought back to earth.