Last night, SpaceX gave a long and detailed demonstration of the second version of its Dragon spacecraft, appropriately named the Dragon V2. The current Dragon is an unmanned supply ship that’s mainly been just used for testing and very limited use in resupplying the ISS, but the V2 is a human operated, human carrying little spaceship that can go into orbit, come back, land anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter, refuel and hop right back up into space.
Watch the videos and see more pictures here. Try not to drool all over your keyboard.
Striking again at the way the US Defense Department awards its lucrative contracts, SpaceX founder Elon Musk says his company wasn’t selected to launch satellites into orbit because he refused to hire a public official.
Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, announced Friday that SpaceX is filing suit against the Federal Government to protest and break the US Air Force’s awarding of lucrative launch contracts for high priority national security satellites to a sole rocket provider – United Launch Alliance (ULA) – on a non competitive basis.
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.