"I’m extremely proud to say we are returning regular human spaceflight launches to American soil on an American rocket and spacecraft," Bridenstine said on Tuesday in a press release. "This certification milestone is an incredible achievement from NASA and SpaceX that highlights the progress we can make working together with commercial industry."
Since 2011, the United States has relied on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft system to access the International Space Station.
Check out pictures of the @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft being rolled out at Launch Complex 39A ahead of the launch of Crew-1 to @Space_Station. 🚀📷 - https://t.co/6OY3kX0Dni pic.twitter.com/ocqwj4H6qK— NASA HQ PHOTO (@nasahqphoto) November 10, 2020
Space X developed the system consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon, under a NASA contract.
BREAKING: @NASA and @SpaceX have completed certification of #CrewDragon! I’m extremely proud to say we are returning regular human spaceflight launches to American soil on an American rocket and spacecraft. More: https://t.co/VGPPAtSll3 #LaunchAmerica pic.twitter.com/jUZx0BBPwb— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) November 10, 2020
Space X designed the Crew Dragon to carry up to seven people. The certification followed a successful test flight of the Space X system, which carried astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the station and returned them to Earth earlier this year.
NASA plans to configure the capsule to carry four people at a time, plus cargo, with the next flight on November 14 sending Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese Soichi Noguchi, on a six-month mission to the orbiting laboratory, the release said.