Elon Musk and the Dragon V2
Who needs Russia when we have SpaceX?

NASA currently has to rely on Russia to shuttle its astronauts to the International Space Station (at a cost of $60 million per seat), and recent months have shown that the relationship between the two countries is shaky at best.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin joked that NASA should use a trampoline to launch its astronauts into orbit, to which SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded:

Well, Musk is making good on his promise and tonight unveiled his vision for the future of human spaceflight for NASA. The Dragon V2 is a massively upgraded (and enlarged) version of the unmanned Dragon capsule that has been shuttling supplies to the ISS since 2012. Musk calls the seven-passenger Dragon V2 “a big leap forward in technology” that can “land anywhere on land propulsively [with] the accuracy of a helicopter.”

The Dragon V2 can dock with the ISS without the need for the Canadarm and also retains the landing parachute of the original Dragon. The onboard computers will test the landing engines a few minutes before landing to ensure that they are fully operational. If the computer determines that everything checks out, the capsule will land under propulsive power. If the landing engines aren’t functioning properly, the parachute will be deployed to ensure a safe landing.
Another exciting feature of the Dragon V2 is what Musk calls “rapid reusability” -- the ability to refuel the capsule immediately after it lands and send it right back into space again. Musk said that this is the key to revolutionizing access to space. Musk mentioned the airline industry, stating that it would not be feasible for airlines to simply throw out their aircraft after every successful flight.
Musk is hoping to start transporting astronauts from Earth to the ISS by 2017 (2018 at the latest). It should be noted that Boeing, Blue Origin, and Sierra Nevada also have contracts with NASA to develop manned crew vehicles

Source: SpaceX

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