NASA intends to allow SpaceX to reutilize components of the Crew Dragon spaceship and some parts of Falcon 9 rocket for other launches. This move is through NASA editing the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CctCap) contract with SpaceX to reutilize the main components of the mission. This change follows a similar move on the extension of the Demo-2 mission by several days. These modifications are to boost operations for SpaceX, especially now that there are limitations effected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Benji Reed, the director of crew mission management at SpaceX, hints that they were planning to reuse the Crew Dragon capsules for NASA missions. He says that the components are still in good shape after the Demo-2 mission and, therefore, essential for reuse. NASA’s Stephanie Schierholz told SpaceNews that these contractual changes are a retaliation move in response to SpaceX’s requests.
Schierholz reports that SpaceX proposed this idea after convincing NASA on the expenditure and safety measures relating to the reuse of the Demo-2 mission components. On the other hand, she assures that NASA is thoroughly assessing the benefits and risks of the contract modifications.
Schierholz says that the changes are in favor of the government. It appears cost-effective if they reuse the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the modified Falcon 9 rocket for the upcoming operational mission intended for August 2021. She said that NASA would not allow these expensive components to fall from glory to the more straightforward tasks when they can be reusable in vital transient missions. SpaceX so far proves the truth of this statement after reusing Falcon 9 booster for the Starlink launches.
SpaceX anticipates more contracts to change so that the otherwise quality artillery remains in exclusive use. This stand is after obtaining a go-ahead in reusing Dragon spaceship on the CRS-11 mission earlier in 2017. They can reuse the spacecraft capsules that are in good condition after passing the safety tests and reviews.
Also, SpaceX is putting its technology in place to redesign the faulty components of the Dragon Crew spacecraft. This move will then create time to regenerate and design the best version of the craft while the other capsules are in reuse. They are adjusting the crew capsule to accommodate all the necessities for astronauts to launch into the deep of space, and after that, combining these two procedures will prepare the tablets for reuse of up to five flights.
Finally, the Vice President of construction plans at SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann, says that the reuse of the spacecraft and its components depends on the remnant capsule that reenters Earth. As for the launch equipment, he says that they hope they can adjust them for other missions.