Print 27 comment(s) - last by notamuslim210.. on Aug 23 at 3:45 PM

SpaceX said its space capsule's arrival at the ISS will mark "the beginning of a new era in space travel"

Throughout 2011, NASA retired its entire space shuttle fleet one by one, from Discovery's final flight in February, to Endeavour's last jaunt in May and Atlantis' final launch in July. But just because the space shuttle fleet is out of service, it doesn't mean that trips to the International Space Station (ISS) are done and over with.

Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, a California-based rocket maker that was founded in 2002, has announced that it is planning a test flight to the ISS in late November. It will carry supplies and equipment to the orbiting facility.

"SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for our next flight -- a mission designed to demonstrate that a privately-developed space transportation system can deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS)," said SpaceX.

SpaceX has only made one other space mission. It sent its "gumdrop-shaped" Dragon space capsule into orbit in December 2010. SpaceX ended up winning $75 million earlier this year for being the first private company to successfully launch its own space capsule.

According to SpaceX's website, it costs about $133 million for a full-up NASA Dragon cargo mission to the ISS.

"Together, government and the private sector can simultaneously increase the reliability, safety and frequency of space travel, while greatly reducing the costs," said SpaceX.

NASA gave SpaceX a launch date of November 30, 2011. Nine days later, the company's Dragon should be berthing at the ISS.

SpaceX said its space capsule's arrival at the ISS will mark "the beginning of a new era in space travel."

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Does anyone else think it looks like a Dalek?
By voodoobunny on 8/17/2011 12:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe this is the original unarmed prototype.

RE: Does anyone else think it looks like a Dalek?
By JediJeb on 8/17/2011 1:39:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just hope the crew if the ISS doesn't start hearing a scratchy electronic voice coming over the radio saying" Exxterrrrmminnnnaaaatteee!" just before this thing docks.

By GulWestfale on 8/17/2011 2:06:53 PM , Rating: 3
I miss christopher eccleston.

By Stuka on 8/17/2011 2:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
F Yeah! That was the only season of Dr. Who I've ever watched all the way through.

By MrBlastman on 8/17/2011 2:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
Christopher Eccleston... what about Tom Baker?

By Reclaimer77 on 8/17/2011 6:34:27 PM , Rating: 1

By toyotabedzrock on 8/18/2011 6:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this already more expensive than what we would be paying the Russians?

By Brent.Allsop on 8/20/2011 11:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no expert, and just pulling numbers off the top of my head, but I believe it costs $30 million to send one astronaut up with Russia.

But the dragon will carry 7, which works out to about $19 million per person? Way cheaper than anything the US has done in the past.

And, yes I think it looks like a Dalek.

The Cost Is Still Staggering
By Super Speed Train on 8/19/2011 7:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is a great testimony to the power of private industry partnering with the US Government to do more with less. We would hope this project will lead to even more exploration in space as well here at home. No more than 10% of our Oceans have been explored - what would we discover if we went a little deeper and invested equal amount of money in deep Sea exploration? We also think a better relationship between high speed rail proponents and Goverment would help ease our transportation problems over the coming years. Unfortunetly the technology we are using to explore space is so primitive. It will take generations before we come any where close to realizing a return on our space exploration investment. Invest in the now

By notamuslim210 on 8/23/2011 3:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not so much staggering as low...

High speed rail = dangerous to large numbers of people with no benefits

Space exploration = dangerous to select group of volunteers with great benefits

Space benefits from the first space race include cordless powertools, mylar, thin insulation, industrial chemistry (including paints, coatings, and fabrics), micro-electronics development, ultra light materials development, and miniaturization, and a host of lesser known techological improvements which have vastly increased our technological knowledge and economic growth. High speed aircraft when they have a problem have wings and time to recover. High speed trains when they have a problem have nothing but damage to absorb and damage to give. Stick with trying to make trains of any type profitable for anyone outside of a close fitting city and maybe the high speed train will make a showing later.

What the...
By ElementZero on 8/17/11, Rating: -1
RE: What the...
By ElementZero on 8/17/2011 12:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
home = hope. My life for an edit button

RE: What the...
By FITCamaro on 8/17/11, Rating: 0
RE: What the...
By Shig on 8/17/2011 12:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
If the shape ain't broke, don't fix it.

RE: What the...
By GulWestfale on 8/17/2011 2:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
Your penis is shaped like a triangle?!

RE: What the...
By Jeffk464 on 8/17/2011 2:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure triangle have points.

RE: What the...
By MrBlastman on 8/17/2011 2:35:19 PM , Rating: 3
Lets just hope it doesn't get bent during initial insertion or even re-entry...

RE: What the...
By nafhan on 8/17/2011 1:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Shhh... it's all part of the conspiracy to make women feel uncomfortable around technology.

RE: What the...
By phantom505 on 8/17/2011 1:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ahem, it's men that have the envy problem.

RE: What the...
By lagomorpha on 8/17/2011 3:19:15 PM , Rating: 2

You would prefer a vulva shaped rocket?

RE: What the...
By Jeffk464 on 8/17/2011 2:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
According to another recent article it sure sounded like NASA was going to use atlas V and the boeing capsule for putting astronauts in space.

RE: What the...
By danjw1 on 8/17/2011 2:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
What a waste of money that would be. SpaceX eats any cost overruns. Boeing wouldn't know how to get a project out the door on time, if the CEOs life depended on it. SpaceX has also received money from NASA to pursue the Dragon as a manned capsule. Of course, SpaceX is going to do it for a lot less then Boeing.

RE: What the...
By SPOOFE on 8/17/2011 4:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
This article mentions supplies and equipment. Maybe SpaceX will launch unmanned supply missions, while Boeing and Atlas V will be used for astronauts?

RE: What the...
By ajfink on 8/17/2011 6:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
SpaceX seems pretty bent on putting people in space. NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing/LM may all have different capsule designs that are all certified to put people up. Which rockets are used is probably the bigger variable.

RE: What the...
By Master Kenobi on 8/17/2011 6:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
Supply missions have no reason to be manned and can be done hella cheaper.

RE: What the...
By delphinus100 on 8/17/2011 9:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
The Dragon cargo capsule is simply an unmanned variant of the manned vehicle.

One might say the same of Progress vs. Soyuz, but when a Progress is done, it has no re-entry capability, and is destructively de-orbited. A cargo Dragon will re-enter for recovery, and be flown again, either for further re-supply, or in the 'Dragon Lab' mode, as a recoverable, independent experiment and instrument carrying satellite.

RE: What the...
By delphinus100 on 8/17/2011 9:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
Of the four CCdev (Commercial Crew Development) NASA partners, SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin, SpaceDev, three of them will launch their vehicles on Atlas V. Dragon, of course, already rides Falcon 9.

(Lockheed-Martin's Orion isn't part of CCDev, and it's not clear what launcher it'll use, but most likely Delta IV heavy)

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