SpaceX will stop producing new Crew Dragon craft after it finishes manufacturing its fourth and final capsule, according to Reuters. After confirming the news, Elon Musk’s private space firm told the outlet it would continue to produce components for the spacecraft and that it would retain its capacity to manufacture additional Crew Dragon capsules should something come up.
Given the reusable nature of the Crew Dragon, it was always assumed SpaceX would produce a limited number of the spacecraft, but before today it wasn’t known just how many capsules the company planned to make before moving on to other projects.
Since its first crewed flight in 2020, Crew Dragon has flown five crews to space, including the first-ever all-civilian one at the end of last year. As part of its ongoing Commercial Crew program, NASA had planned to use the Space X capsule to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station across six separate missions, but recently said it would use the craft for as many as three more flights due to delays associated with Boeing’s Starliner craft.
The end of Crew Dragon manufacturing comes as SpaceX looks to get its next-generation Starship reusable heavy rocket certified and operational. The spacecraft is a key piece in all of SpaceX’s plans involving 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.