SpaceX successfully sent and returned the first all civilian crew to and from orbit with its Inspriation4 mission earlier this month. While there were some challenges with the flight, namely issues with the toilet aboard the spacecraft, the mission was trouble free. SpaceX has now confirmed that after the Inspriation4 mission, it has seen an increased interest in civilian spaceflight.
In light of the increased interest, SpaceX is considering increasing the size of its Crew Dragon fleet to accommodate both civilian astronauts and ferrying NASA astronauts to and from the ISS. Currently, the contract between SpaceX and NASA has four more ISS flights. SpaceX also has four more missions on the books that will ferry astorantus to the ISS for Axiom Space.
On top of those two contracts, SpaceX also has a third in place that is with a space tourism company called Space Adventures. That contract is for a stand alone mission that will put a crew into orbit, but won’t take them to the ISS. That mission will be similar to the Inspiration4 mission. Along with the missions to send humans to orbit and the ISS, SpaceX also has a contract with NASA for sending cargo to and from the ISS.
One challenge for SpaceX is that it currently has limited Crew Dragon capsules and each of them is only certified for five flights each. Two Crew Dragon capsules already have two flights on them. Exactly how many more Crew Dragon spacecraft the company will build is a mystery at this time. However, it has confirmed that it can build more if there is a demand.
SpaceX has stated there is “tons of interest” for private space flight following the Inspiraiton4 mission. SpaceX is working on Starship, which hasn’t flown into orbit at this time. Starship is a much larger spacecraft than Dragon and can carry more crew and cargo into orbit once it’s operational. It’s unclear when it might be operational at this time.