27 July 2011

SpaceX and NASA to Move Up ISS Re-Supply Mission?


NASA and SpaceX are discussing moving directly to an ISS re-supply mission, rather than sticking to the slower schedule of flying a "mock mission" in the general vicinity of the ISS first. These talks reflect a growing confidence on the part of both NASA and SpaceX, that the private launch company has worked the bugs out of all of its systems.
Originally, SpaceX's launch to the International Space Station (which would be completed using a Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket) required two test demonstrations: One would include a "rendezvous" in which SpaceX flies near the ISS, and a second would include an actual docking with the ISS. If that sounds like a real mission and not a "test demonstration," you're right: SpaceX would indeed be delivering some sort of "limited cargo," according to Spaceflight Now. But it seems as though SpaceX is both ambitious and ahead of schedule, as they asked NASA, which is the public partner of the in-part publicly funded SpaceX, to approve the combining of these two missions into a single one--or, more accurately, to just ditch the first rendezvous-only flight.

There's no real rush here; the last space shuttle mission replenished the ISS's supplies to the extent that the astronauts aboard will be perfectly well-equipped through 2012. But SpaceX is evidently eager to start making regular deliveries to the ISS, which, of course, is the reason for its $1.6 billion contract with NASA. NASA, for its part, "technically have agreed" to the combination of the test flights--formal approval has yet to be given, though that seems inevitable. It's a good sign for proponents of the new private world of space travel--SpaceX seems more capable than ever. _PopSci
The first human $trillionaires may well be private space entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk of SpaceX. It is unfortunate that SpaceX must rely on government funding and partnerships to get started in the space industry, but that is the regressive approach which humans have taken -- relying on their governments for virtually all space access and activities, up until now.

As humans learn to access space via private launch, and to develop private markets in space, much more innovation is likely to occur across the wide range of possible space activity, including space tourism, near-Earth asteroid mining, and space manufacturing.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Interesting, however, if history is any predictor of the future, one can look forward to military "conquest" of territories once the economic value of those territories is demonstrated.

Treaties to the contrary, it makes little difference what earth-bound nations agree to when faced with an aggressive, military effort in space.

The U.S. seems willing to take that risk.


Wednesday, 27 July, 2011  
Blogger Loren said...

SpaceX has at least a dozen launches schedules. What percentage are gov?

Wednesday, 27 July, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Updated information on SpaceX can be found at http://www.spacex.com/updates.php

There is no fixed percentage at this point. SpaceX has a contract with NASA for ISS resupply and is also working on contracts for commercial flights.

Launch Manifest for SpaceX through 2015 (and perhaps 2017)

Sunday, 31 July, 2011  

Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts