SpaceX will stop production of new Crew Dragon craft after it finishes production of its fourth and final capsule, according to Reuters. After confirming the news, Elon Musk’s private space company told the outlet that it would continue to manufacture components for the spacecraft and would maintain its capacity to produce additional Crew Dragon capsules if anything happened.
Given the reusable nature of the Crew Dragon, it was always assumed that SpaceX would produce a limited number of the spacecraft, but before today it was unknown how many capsules the company planned to make before moving on to other projects.
Since the first manned flight in 2020, Crew Dragon has flown five crews to space, including the first-ever all-civilian late last year. As part of its ongoing Commercial Crew program, NASA planned to use the Space X capsule to bring astronauts to the International Space Station through six separate missions, but recently said it would use the craft for as many as three flights. due to delays related to Boeing’s Starliner vessel.
The end of Crew Dragon production comes as SpaceX strives to get its next-generation Starship reusable heavy rocket certified and operational. The spacecraft is an important part of all of SpaceX’s plans related to the moon and Mars. After a handful of delays, Elon Musk recently said the company hoped to conduct Starship’s first orbital test in May.
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