SpaceX has been cleared to deliver a group of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
Elon Musk and his team of rocket scientists will send their first astronauts into space in late 2017. The company will use the next two years to prepare for the mission.
The first flight will be one of two guaranteed missions SpaceX secured the rights to from NASA in 2014.
Boeing, which also won a NASA contract last year, was given its first assignment in June.
Boeing and SpaceX are entitled to at least two and as many as six missions. NASA hopes that by transitioning from private to public commercial operators, it will drastically reduce the cost of expensive space flights.
“Commercial crew launches are really important for helping us meet the demand for research on the space station,” said Julie Robinson, International Space Station chief scientist.
For its mission SpaceX will use a Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket.
“When Crew Dragon takes NASA astronauts to the space station in 2017, they will be riding in one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown. We’re honored to be developing this capability for NASA and our country,” said SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell.
SpaceX has completed six successful resupply trips to the International Space Station over the past four years. In June an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, headed to the space station, exploded minutes after taking off.