Commercial Crew Program Overview Updated March 1, 2023

Commercial Crew Program

Enabling safe, reliable and cost-effective crew transportation to and from the International Space Station

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46 'Commercial Crew Program' stories

March 2020 - March 2023

NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program is a human spaceflight program created in association with SpaceX and Boeing. It was created in 2011 to allow other companies to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) via their own spacecraft, such as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. The program succeeds NASA’s involvement with Russia’s Soyuz program, which the agency previously used to carry astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX successfully performed the first operational mission as part of the program on November 15, 2020. Called Crew-1, the mission launched four astronauts to the ISS aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Boeing has also been attempting to create its own crewed spacecraft called Starliner; however, various software issues have delayed this project from moving forward as quickly as originally anticipated. Boeing is scheduled to launch another test flight of the spacecraft in March 2021.

SpaceX successfully launches Crew-6 mission to ISS with second-ever UAE astronaut on board

spacex launch of crew-6

After aborting during an issue with loading Falcon 9’s ignition fluid, SpaceX successfully lifted off from historic LC-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the sixth crew rotation in part of the Commercial Crew Program. This mission is unique, as it carries the first long-duration mission of a UAE astronaut, thanks to a partnership with Axiom.

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SpaceX and NASA are ready to reattempt Crew-6 launch tonight

After scrubbing Monday morning’s attempt to launch the next crew rotation to the ISS due to an issue with the Falcon 9’s ignition fluid, both the company and agency are ready to try again tonight.

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SpaceX scrubs Crew-6 launch due to issue with TEA-TEB loading [Update: Thursday launch date]

It was a relatively quiet countdown last night, with SpaceX showing that they know what they’re doing and hitting all the milestones early during Crew-6’s launch preparations. Unfortunately, however, no good deed goes unpunished because the company ran into an issue when loading a rather nasty part of the propellant for Falcon 9’s launch.

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Crew 5 Arrives at the International Space Station

The remainder of Expedition 68 has arrived at the International Space Station. SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance lifted off from LC-39A in Florida on October 5th.

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Pictures of SpaceX Crew-5 launch to the ISS [Update] And video!

On October 5, SpaceX launched its fifth operational flight of its Crewed Dragon for NASA. Launching four astronauts to the station for a six month stay on the station. Here or photos from our team of the launch of SpaceX Crew-5.

SpaceX Crew-5 launches to space carrying Dragon’s first Russian cosmonaut

Uneventful is the best way to describe it, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from SpaceX missions. Under beautiful skies and wonderful temperatures, SpaceX launched the Crew 5 mission to the International Space Station. Aboard the capsule Endurance, the crew includes Commander Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, the only female cosmonaut and the first Russian to fly from the US in a renewed seat exchange program.

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NASA investigated water degradation in Crew-4’s heat shield, found okay to fly

Towards the start of this year, NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center assessed the previously flown Dragon Capsule heat shield structure for potential corrosion damage ahead of its flight on Crew-4. They found that corrosion degradation would occur up until launch, but signed off on the reuse of the structure.

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Boeing could lose out to SpaceX (again) for final NASA crewed missions to the ISS

NASA announced quietly on June 1 that they are preparing to buy five more flights of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to finish out the crew rotation through the planned International Space Station lifespan. This could end up being the final missions awarded under the Commerical Crew Program, with the ISS set to retire by 2030.

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Boeing OFT-2 Starliner is set to return today

After a short stay at the space station, Boeing’s OFT-2 Starliner will undock and return to Earth Wednesday. Below is how and when to watch the conclusion of, hopefully, Boeing’s final uncrewed test flight.

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NASA comment on SpaceX Dragon heat shield [Update]

NASA has since responded, contradicting our reporting. NASA’s full comment below.

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has been very successful since its first crewed launch on Demo-2. While reuse is paramount to SpaceX’s mission, the Dragon capsule heat shield has started to cause issues once again that could put astronauts at risk. 

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Watch Boeing’s Starliner dock with the International Space Station

At last, Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is poised to dock with the International Space Station. It’s been a long journey, with many setbacks, but the teams seem ready for Boeing’s capsule to join the orbiting laboratory for the first time.

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Boeing Starliner successfully completes insertion burn; here are the next event times to know

Boeing and its launch partner ULA successfully sent the uncrewed Starliner space to Earth orbit today. The mission, called OFT-2 (orbital flight test two), has already surpassed the status of Starliner during OFT-1 in 2019. Next up are several key events, including docking to the International Space Station and the return flight back to Earth. Here’s what you need to know:

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Crew-4 Astronauts arrive at KSC ahead of launch to ISS later this week

In the early afternoon on Monday, April 18, the Crew-4 Astronauts, three NASA astronauts and an ESA astronaut, arrived at Kennedy Space Center ahead of their launch to the International Space Station scheduled for Saturday morning.

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SpaceX’s Crew-4 names their Dragon ‘Freedom,’ returning the historic name to flight

The commander of SpaceX’s next crewed flight to the International Space Station shared on Twitter the name of the SpaceX Dragon his crew will fly in this spring. Named “Freedom,” it obviously points towards Russia’s attack on Ukraine and calls back to NASA’s first-ever crewed spacecraft.

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Russian Cosmonaut will hop on the trampoline to space (SpaceX Dragon Capsule) next fall

The Russian space agency Roscosmos plans to send Cosmonaut Anna Kikina to space on a SpaceX Dragon Capsule next September.

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Live Thread: SpaceX’s Crew-3 to dock with the International Space Station [Update: Crew now onboard the ISS]

After a successful launch late Wednesday night, SpaceX’s Crew-3 is preparing to dock with the International Space Station Thursday afternoon. Read below for live updates as SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance, with Crew-3, works towards docking.

Docking to ISS: 6:33 p.m. EST

Hatch Opening: 8:45 p.m. EST

Welcome Ceremony: 9:20 p.m. EST

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SpaceX’s Crew-3 on their way to the International Space Station after a successful launch

SpaceX successfully launched Dragon Endurance, a brand new spacecraft, to space on its Falcon 9 rocket. The next stop for the crew on board will be docking with the International Space Station.

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Launch Thread: SpaceX to launch third ISS crew rotation mission for NASA [Update: Succesful launch]

SpaceX’s third operational mission with NASA of their Crew Dragon vehicle, Crew-3, is planning to take flight early Halloween morning. This mission will carry four astronauts, three NASA and one ESA, to the International Space Station with additional supplies and experiments. Learn more about SpaceX’s Crew-3 launch and view updates on its status below.

Date: Wednesday, November 10, 9:03:31 p.m EST

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How to watch SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station

SpaceX conducted a successful static fire of Crew-3’s Falcon 9 booster this last Thursday making them ready for their first launch date on Halloween. However, due to weather in planned abort zones along the easter coast of the US and a “minor medical issue”, Crew-3 has been delayed to tonight. Read below how to watch SpaceX’s Crew-3 launch.

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SpaceX’s Crew-2 splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico after a six-month stay in space

Late Monday, SpaceX brought back Dragon Endeavour from its six-month stay at the International Space Station. Onboard were SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet.

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Live Thread: SpaceX Crew-2 is returning home today, here is how to keep track of them [Update: Coverage of splashdown has ended]

SpaceX and NASA are planning to undock Crew-2 and their Crew Dragon Endeavour and return to Earth today. This will conclude a six-month stay on the International Space Station for the four astronauts.

ISS Departure: Monday, November 8, 2:05 p.m. EST

Splashdown: Monday, November 8, 10:33 p.m. EST

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NASA looking at returning Crew-2 before launch of next SpaceX crewed mission

NASA has delayed the launch of Crew-3 to no sooner than Monday, November 8, at 9:51 p.m. due to poor weather conditions locally and in abort zones. NASA also stated that they will now look at returning Crew-2 as soon as this Sunday, November 7, confirming our speculations earlier this week.

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SpaceX’s newest Crew Dragon now sports NASA’s iconic Worm logo

SpaceX moved the Falcon 9 rocket with its Crew Dragon Endurance to LC-39A ahead of its Crew-3 launch. The brand new Dragon spacecraft now sports NASA’s Worm logo just above its Super-Draco abort engines.

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SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts arrive at Kennedy Space Center ahead of Halloween launch

SpaceX‘s Crew-3 mission for NASA’s Commerical Crew Program is scheduled for Halloween (October 31) at 2:21 a.m. EDT. Tuesday, they arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility ahead of this weekend’s launch.

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NASA is requesting proposals for more rides to the International Space Station

NASA released a formal notice for new crewed rides to the International Space Station, answering the question what happens after SpaceX and Boeing finish their contracts.

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Updates on Boeing’s OFT-2 mission to the International Space Station

In August, Boeing attempted to launch its second Orbital Flight Test mission to the International Space Station but was plagued by valve malfunctions. Since then, Boeing and NASA have been giving updates on where they are with returning to launch.

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NASA reassigns Starliner crew members to SpaceX Crew-5 mission

NASA announced on Wednesday the first two members to fly on SpaceX‘s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The crew members were reassigned from Boeing’s planned first two flights on Starliner, which doesn’t seem to be launching anytime soon.

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[Update: Delayed past NASA Lucy mission] Boeing stands down from current Starliner launch window, returning spacecraft to factory

Update: In a press conference Boeing and NASA detailed why they will be moving Starliner back to their factory and the next possible launch opportunities.

The ongoing saga that is Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft takes another unfortunate turn today. Boeing has announced that it will return Starliner to its factory after experiencing hardware issues that prevented a launch attempt.

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[Update: Delayed: Awaiting new date] Next Launch: Boeing Starliner to conduct its second orbital test flight

Update: A few hours before launch Boeing announced that the launch was postponed due to issues with “unexpected valve position indications” used in the propulsion system.

After the missed opportunity to dock with the International Space Station due to a timer issue on its first flight a second test flight was needed. Boeing will be performing their second orbital flight test for their Starliner crew capsule as soon as Friday to dock with the ISS. This will also serve as the final test before NASA puts crew onboard to determine if it’s ready.

Date: Tuesday, August 3rd at 1:20 p.m. EDT

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Boeing’s OFT-2 mission completes its Flight Readiness Review before launch

NASA and Boeing will attempt to launch the Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission on July 30th at 2:53 PM EDT. This comes after a successful Flight Readiness Review today.

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Boeing Starliner capsule secured to Atlas V rocket in preparation for Orbital Flight Test 2

Boeing’s Starliner Capsule for Orbital Flight Test 2 began its rollout from the company’s processing facility to ULA’s vertical integration facility. The capsule has been secured to the Atlas V rocket which will launch it to the International Space Station at the end of the month.

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Boeing’s Starliner Crewed Flight Test rocket arrives at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

An Atlas V booster and Dual Engine Centaur have arrived at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC) after being offloaded from the Rocketship transport vessel. Spaceflight media was invited to attend the event to provide coverage. This is the third human-rated Atlas V rocket to be delivered to the Cape, with the first being stacked ahead of the Orbital Flight Test 2.

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New launch date for SpaceX’s next crewed flight to the International Space Station announced

Today NASA and SpaceX announced a new launch date for the next crew rotation on the ISS this coming fall. The new date is due to “visiting vehicle traffic” with a few missions possibly taking place around the same time.

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Boeing targets mid-summer launch for second Starliner uncrewed orbital flight test to ISS

Boeing is one step closer to joining SpaceX in launching astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA. The company’s Starliner spacecraft will conduct its second uncrewed orbital flight test, known as OFT-2, as soon as July 30. OFT-2 is Boeing’s second shot at having its spacecraft reach ISS, dock, and undock before returning to Earth.

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SpaceX Crew-1 returns back to Earth after Dragon’s first 6-month stay in space

After a 6-month stay at the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX’s first operational crew mission returned early this morning back on Earth.

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[Gallery] SpaceX launches Crew 2 on a reflown booster and Crew Dragon capsule

On April 23rd, at 5:49 ET SpaceX launched a Dragon 2 Crew Capsule to the International Space Station.

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[Update: Launched] SpaceX to send second operational crewed mission to the space station

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has been a huge success with the launch of DM-2 and Crew 1 for NASA last year. This year they have two more missions to launch crew rotations to the International Space Station under the Commercial Crew Program with the next coming up this week.

Date: Friday, April 23nd, 5:49 AM EDT

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NASA and Boeing set new date for second Starliner test ahead of astronaut missions

Boeing is positioned to start flying astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA as soon as this year, but the Starliner spacecraft must complete an orbital flight test without crew. NASA and Boeing now have a new date set for when the OFT-2 mission will be conducted. If successful, Boeing’s Starliner will join SpaceX’s Crew Dragon in transporting astronauts from the U.S. to the ISS for NASA’s Commercial Crew program.

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NASA and ESA name three astronauts for SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS, one seat open for now

NASA and ESA have announced which three astronauts will train and become crew members for SpaceX Crew-3 mission in 2021. The mission, which is expected to launch sometime in the fall next year, will carry the three selected astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft.

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SpaceX launches first operational flight of Crew Dragon capsule with four astronauts bound for ISS

At 7:27 p.m. EST on Sunday, SpaceX launched astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi into space. This marks the first operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and the official transition to commercial transportation to the ISS for NASA. Since the end of the shuttle program in 2011, the U.S. has relied on leasing astronaut seats on Russian rockets to access space.

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[Update: New launch date] NASA targeting October 23 for SpaceX Crew-1 mission pending Crew Dragon certification

Remember the historic SpaceX rocket launch that sent NASA astronauts to the International Space Station earlier this summer? After the successful demonstration mission, SpaceX is almost ready to start sending astronauts to space regularly through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Today, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the next date when SpaceX will send a crew to the ISS. NASA is targeting no earlier than October 23, 2020, for the upcoming SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

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NASA astronauts returning to Earth from ISS in August after first crewed SpaceX launch in May

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will depart from the International Space Center in August after becoming the first humans to ever go to space in a SpaceX spacecraft. A successful splashdown will conclude the SpaceX Demo-2 crewed flight test mission to certify the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for operational missions.

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Boeing wants to send NASA astronauts to space, but first it must prove Starliner is ready

In a decision that has been months in the making, Boeing has announced that its Starliner spacecraft will conduct a second orbital flight test before it can demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities for NASA.

SpaceX passed its orbital flight test for NASA in March last year when its Crew Dragon capsule traveled to the International Space Station and back.

Boeing attempted its own orbital flight test in December, but the mission went awry within minutes of Starliner leaving the planet.

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Shannon Walker joins crewed SpaceX mission, launch target later this year

NASA announced this week that astronaut Shannon Walker has been assigned to the first operational crewed SpaceX mission.

Walker will NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr., and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi on a six-month mission on the International Space State.

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NASA revives iconic ‘worm’ logo to mark return of human spaceflight from America since Shuttle era

This is news that NASA enthusiasts will consider completely epic. NASA is bringing back its iconic “worm” typeface logo starting with the upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule Demo-2 mission planned for next month.

The mission will mark a historic milestone for America’s space agency: NASA astronauts flying on an American rocket from American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011.

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Flashback: SpaceX in 2012 vying for NASA commercial crew contract post Space Shuttle

Elon Musk’s 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley on CBS in 2012 has aged remarkably well for SpaceX.

Two things stand out. Falcon 9 and Dragon were only just preparing to begin cargo delivery to the International Space Station — something that’s now routine.

And Elon was dreaming of SpaceX succeeding the Space Shuttle for taking astronauts to space from American soil. Eight years later and that day has nearly arrived.

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