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SpaceX Dragon capsule  (Source: dailytech.com)
According to NASA, there is a bit of testing where hardware, software and certain procedures are concerned

NASA announced that all is well with SpaceX's Dragon capsule, and that an April 30 flight to the International Space Station (ISS) is possible.

SpaceX, which is expected to be the first private company to send a spacecraft to the ISS, has been preparing its Dragon capsule for the flight. However, it delayed the Dragon's first launch to the ISS, which was set for February 7. The company wanted to conduct more tests before the cargo capsule took off for space.

"Everything looks good as we head toward the April 30 launch date," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations. "There is a good chance to make the 30th."

The Dragon capsule will be expected to carry 1,148 pounds of cargo to the ISS, which will consist of supplies needed for the space lab, and will return 1,455 pounds of cargo back to Earth.

The private company's Dragon has become an important part of the future of American space travel. Last year, NASA retired its space shuttle fleet, which U.S. astronauts depended on for delivering supplies to the ISS. Since that retirement, American astronauts have been forced to depend on Russian Soyuz rockets to make their way to the ISS -- and the cost of one seat on the Russian spacecraft is expected to increase to $63 million by 2015.

The U.S. knew it had to find another way to travel to space without depending on Russia. Funding was a major complication, where NASA urged Congress to provide $850 million for commercial crew vehicle development last year.

SpaceX arrived on the scene with its Dragon capsule, which is intended for both manned and unmanned missions. While Musk has been working hard on his Dragon, the spacecraft hasn't had an easy road up to this point. The February delay caused a bit of disappointment, and then American space heroes Neil Armstrong (the first astronaut to step foot upon the Moon on Apollo 11) and Gene Cernan (the last man to step foot upon the moon on Apollo 17) both publicly criticized Musk's inexperience with space-related vehicles. They even said that leaving the future of American space travel to SpaceX could lead to safety issues and cost the taxpayers at some point.

However, the Dragon has prevailed and even passed the first NASA Crew Trial last month. Musk defended his company and his Dragon, saying that the work accomplished until now and the road to the ISS ahead have not been easy.

"I think it is important to appreciate that this is pretty tricky," said Musk. "The public out there, they may not realize that the space station is zooming around the Earth every 90 minutes, and it is going 17,000 miles an hour. So you have got to launch up there and you've got to rendezvous and be backing into the space station within inches really, and this is something that is going 12 times faster than the bullet from an assault fire. So it's hard.

"I think we have got a pretty good shot but it is worth emphasizing that there is a lot that can go wrong on a mission like this."

But Musk said even if the Dragon doesn't succeed the first time, he will try again.

The final announcement regarding whether April 30 is the exact date of launch is expected April 23.

Source: Google



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RE: good luck
By TSS on 4/17/2012 8:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
Some good info there. And mainly i agree, however i do belive japan and south korea bases could be shuttered. World war 2 was a long time ago, trade relations are completly different now, Japan could once again be allowed to have a militairy strong enough to protect it's foreign as well as domestic affairs. The rising might of china will keep it in check, as well as in reverse.

And i see no reason why south korean troops can't serve as their own speed bumps. This does not mean i say close all bases, nor lessen any support for the south koreans (or japanese). Just saying that they are the better people when dealing with a zerg attack.

That said, this is not a budget sollution. Nor is reforming your entitlement system. I do agree it should (and will) be reformed, i'm just not of the opinion that the current people in power will reform it into anything that will actually save you money. Either it will decrease the ability of the population to pay taxes to the degree it costs you money, or it will be reformed into a system even less efficient, also costing you more money but for the same services.

That's because it's these people that allowed mandatory spending to get above tax revenue. Since fiscal 2010 you'd be able to not only erase the DoD, but cut discretionary spending in it's entirety, and still come up short (i thought $20 billion in 2010, it'll be more now).

It's also these people that ran up interest on the national debt to $450+ billion yearly. Both sides of the isle, bush hit it at 5% rates and obama managed to hit it at 0,25% rates.

And just look at the news. Campaign news for elections that won't be for another 7 months. Everybody already knows, it'll be obama vs romney and everybody can pretty much guess their views on things. Even the republican primaries where over in a week, romney is the most sane of everything the republicans put foward (but man was it funny).

Other news involves europe, that despite being in a debt crisis for 3 years now, still hasn't fallen over. Actually had a very ordily greek default, considering what it could've cost. It's likely other nations will follow a same path, lots of bickering but in the end orderly writedowns over a prolonged period of time. Won't solve everything, but if the past 3 years have shown anything, europe is slow. Slow to rise, slow to fall.

Meanwhile, there isn't a single peep about the debt ceiling debate, due in only 5 months, and last time cost you your AAA credit rating. You do realise that Europe (essentially germany), despite a 3 year crisis, STILL has that triple A rating?

Nor is anybody talking about the real issue, monitary reform. Well, yes, ron paul is. He's advocating a gold standard while the banks are the ones who own all nigh all the gold, by his own word since he wants to audit fort knox since he knows what he will find. And who caused the credit crisis again? Even if that's not the case and the US still owns gold like Geithner has said, i belive he said it was around $450 billion, or enough to pay the interest on your national debt for a year. Or to cause deflation of a few thousand percentages.

Mathematically it's not entirely hopeless. Just realistically, with the people in charge combined with the likelyhood of other people being put in charge, it is pretty hopeless.


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