Today, NASA announced it has certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon human spaceflight system for crew missions to and from the International Space Station – the first commercial system in history to achieve such designation. Not since the certification of the space shuttle nearly 40 years ago has NASA certified a spacecraft, rocket, and ground support systems for regular flights with astronauts.
Launched atop Falcon 9 on May 30, 2020, Dragon's second demonstration flight test to and from the space station restored human spaceflight to the United States for the first time in almost a decade. That flight was the culmination of years of development, testing, and training—all throughout safety remained SpaceX’s top priority.
SpaceX put every component of every system through its paces, including two flight tests to and from the International Space Station, demonstrations of Dragon’s escape system both on the launch pad and in-flight, over 700 tests of the spacecraft's SuperDraco engines, more than 500 joint soft-capture docking tests to validate the performance of Dragon’s docking system design, about 8,000,000 hours of hardware in the loop software testing, and nearly 100 tests and flights of Dragon’s parachutes to ensure a safe landing back on Earth—in addition to all of the knowledge gained from twenty previous successful cargo resupply missions to the space station and over forty Falcon 9 block 5 launches.
SpaceX and NASA are targeting Saturday, November 14 at 7:49 p.m. EST for the launch of the first crew rotation mission (Crew-1) to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The Crew-1 mission will launch NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, from historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Human spaceflight is SpaceX’s core mission, and we take seriously the responsibility that NASA has entrusted in us to safely carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. We are humbled to help NASA usher in a new era of space exploration.