The actual docking (spaceship sex) happened at around 930am EST this morning, but the UStream live feed is up, so you can see the Dragon capsule snugly attached to side of the ISS with the video link below. This is history being made, even if it looks kind of boring. Okay, so little is boring in space, but there isn’t much going on from the outside.
After a delay last week, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral early this morning with an unmanned ship bringing supplies to the International Space Station. NASA called the launch a “new era” in spaceflight, as it hopes to eventually outsource such missions to private companies.
Early this morning, SpaceX was supposed to launch an unmanned vehicle to hook up with the International Space Station, but due to minor technical problems, the launch was scrapped. The earliest SpaceX will be able to try again will be Tuesday.
Traveling into outer space, whether on a manned or unmanned mission, is no small deal and it certainly isn’t cheap. When even a short trip to orbit or the International Space Station can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the idea that in a few decades we could go to Mars and back on just half a mil seems insane. But SpaceX seems pretty confident they can do it.
While SpaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft still has several years to go before it’s completely ready to go, when it is ready to go, this is what the stylish interior will probably look like. It’s a bit nicer looking than the old Apollo capsules, but it’s still cramped.
At a speech at the National Press Club on Thursday, SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk rolled out SpaceX’s latest leap into the future: Musk and his teams are developing a fully reusable space transportation system that will use a powered landing to come back to Earth after pushing the Dragon capsule into orbit.
Just because we don’t have a space shuttle anymore doesn’t mean that the human appetite for space travel is quelled in the least. Now begins the era of private commercial space flight, and SpaceX is spearheading that frontier. This November, SpaceX will be sending a test pod full of cargo to the ISS and bringing back home again.
If anyone ever had any doubts that the private sector had what it takes to put out reliable, powerful and efficient space missions, SpaceX’s new rocket, the Falcon Heavy should cast all aspersions aside. The Falcon Heavy is more powerful than the Saturn rocket, or any other rocket invented by mankind and costs a third of what it takes to put a shuttle into orbit.
This morning at 10:45, SpaceX launched a multi-stage rocket into orbit and back down again as a test to see whether it could. The launch and re-entry went off without a hitch and if you missed it, here’s some photos and video of the event. And you’re like “Why wasn’t IHC all over this this morning?” Uh, well I didn’t know about the launch until 9am this morning, when the rocket was supposed to launch and then I forgot about it until right around 10:35 when it actually launched. Ta da.