SpaceX Dragon Test Flight to ISS Scheduled for November 30
August 17, 2011 12:07 PM
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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.
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
, 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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RE: What the...
8/17/2011 9:13:14 PM
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.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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