Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Space X Dragon May Be First Man Rated Capsule

I was reading in a Daily Galaxy post that Space X has petitioned NASA to combine two upcoming missions, one to rendezvous with the ISS and next to dock with it. But following the successful test flight SpaceX asked that NASA put both missions into a single rendezvous and docking flight.

NASA has tentatively agreed and is proceeding with planning the mission as though it were combined, even though they have not yet given Space X a formal go ahead.

From the article:
  • The SpaceX Dragon capsule will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on 30 November then rendezvous and dock with the ISS on 7 December
But here is the tidbit I found hiding in the text.
  • US astronauts will still be reliant on lifts from the Russian Soyuz craft until the private vehicle is human-rated by NASA.
- and Space X doesn't think that will be much of a problem. Hummmm it would seem that the next American astronauts returning to space on anything other than a Soyuz will be on a commercial vehicle.


Blizno said...

I am thrilled that a private company is almost ready to take on the workhorse task of ferrying cargo and people to LEO, freeing NASA to do the bleeding-edge exploration which it does so well.

In the back of my mind, though, is the fear that the only company with a chance of achieving that goal (reliable LEO)appears to be without competitors.

I hope that Space X does not become the next Microsoft and monopolize access to space.

Beam Me Up said...

I concur Blizno.
Virgin of course is still betting on space tourism, but at 200k a whack I really can not see this business plan having any depth. The real telling point is when we start seeing drastic cuts in the price of a ride. That will be an awakening for them. I really can't imagine that the DON'T have a leo delivery system on the books some where. Their sub-orbital is already man rated. If I thought I could get a piece of that 500k that Russia is charger to put a warm bod in a chair, I would seriously consider my options.

michael said...

Space X is a program that only took 6 years to launch.

Soyez program now over 40 years is and has developed very little. Kinda like a reliable old early 60's car.

Russians have done little to improve their program. And really do not have any plans to compare with Space X for models meeting future space needs and travel.

And, one more. They are completely a US based and hiring co.

Beam Me Up said...

michael the points on the Soyuz would be that when the Russians are not reverse engineering they develop at the rate of molasses flowing in winter. When they have something that finally works, the basic plans don't change, just identified problems. That is why Americans find the capsule so tight, because when designed, Russians as a general rule only flew 5 foot 4 to five foot 6 men to keep the capsule lighter, and fix valves that accidentally vent cabin pressure.... But by the same nature they are not going to ignore tech that will improve the '60s ride. So their equipment is as modern and as capable as anything flying today given that it just isnt as efficient. But the russian ethos is if it works..don't screw with it.

As far as spaceX their plans for the Sweden facility makes me wonder how dedicated they are to a strong presence in the U.S. just sayin ....