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Dragon flies on April 30th

NASA has given SpaceX a go ahead for their trip to the ISS to test the Dragon spaceship in its cargo mode.

What differentiates Dragon from other Commercial Cargo contract holders is that this is only one small step towards a much bigger goal for SpaceX. Dragon has heat shield capacity for a free return into the Earth’s atmosphere from deep space; it carries solar panels so that as far as energy supplies are required it has unlimited endurance; it is roomy enough for 7 people to be in couches for liftoff with two technicians *standing* inside the capsule. Not only that, it is reusable and Elon is working out the details for the booster and second stages to be re-usable as well, with a long term goal of briinging the systems price down to $.5M per person for a trip to Mars.

Elon is not the only big news coming up this year. Within the next 12 months we can expect up to 4 private vehicles to fly suborbital test flights.

This is going to be a very big year for NewSpace.

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5 comments to Dragon flies on April 30th

  • When I first read this I thought it was going to be about an appearance by dragon flies at an unusual time of the year, and whether or not this proves that the earth is about to fry.

    Happily: not.

  • Dale Amon

    I am pretty sure that Elon is someone who has fun with his naming of things. The two main engines he has developed are called the Kestrel and the Merlin. Three guesses where those came from and the first two don’t count…

    As to the Dragon… I really wonder if he had “Flight of the Dragonfly” in mind when he coined it, perhaps as a gesture of respect towards Dr. Robert Forward.

  • I can’t say enough how much I wish all these guys well. I’ll buy anyone reading this a beer on Mars in 2112!

  • Paul Marks

    Good fortune to all those involved.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    When do you intend to mine asteroids, then? And do we want cheap space minerals devaluing our natural resources here on Earth?