According to the announcement, NASA has officially approved the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket as a means of regularly transporting people to and from the ISS. Management has signed the appropriate certification – for the first time in nearly 40 years since the launch of the Shuttle.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein stated:
Certification is an important milestone in an incredible achievement on the part of NASA and SpaceX, highlighting the progress possible when working with the commercial industry.
To gain approval, SpaceX conducted its first test flight this summer, when astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Harley were brought to the ISS. After two months on the ISS, they successfully returned to Earth.
In addition, parachutes, an emergency evacuation system, inboard engines and other systems necessary to send and return people safely were tested. Now that Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 are officially recognized as reliable enough for regular flights, NASA will be able to use SpaceX services both for the development of the ISS and as part of programs for the development of the moon.
Crew Dragon’s first scheduled flight with four astronauts on board is scheduled for November 14, weather conditions permitting.