A little less than six months after the final space shuttle launch, a private space company will launch a rocket carrying a cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station. SpaceX said this week that it plans a Nov. 30 launch date for its first rendezvous with the ISS — an encounter that will mark a major milestone in private space exploration.
We heard last month that NASA agreed to speed up SpaceX's flight demo schedule, as SpaceX, eager to start making deliveries under its $1.6 billion NASA contract, asked NASA for permission to combine two planned missions into one. That mission is now targeted for the week after Thanksgiving, according to SpaceX.
In this demonstration under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, SpaceX will launch its Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket Nov. 30, and dock with the ISS nine days later. It will carry a limited payload to the station, which is fully stocked through next year thanks to the final shuttle delivery.
SpaceX will apparently use the opportunity to launch some other stuff, too, using the Falcon's second stage that will deploy after the Dragon capsule separates from its fairing.
The Dragon capsule, the first privately built reusable spacecraft, made its first flight in December, and SpaceX has been conducting tests and dry runs in the months since. The company said it is working out the kinks in its COTS plans so that NASA will give final approval for a single mission.
Awesome! Maybe they can offer US astronauts tag-along flights for cheaper than what foreign countries are charging.
Anyone out there know what the "limited paload" & "other stuff" will be?
just the normal stuff other cargo apacecraft take up, all the astronauts will ride in this vehicle (not just US astronauts), why do you think NASA has backed them with expertise and money, way to go SpaceX!
all you doom and gloom NASA haters can eat crow!
The dragon capsule seem big enough to carry astronauts.
If the november test flight goes well maybe one can expect it to bring astronauts to ISS in 2012 or 2013... good news.
Yea don't hate on NASA. They were amazing in so many areas. BUT! They need to stop wasting so much friggin money. SpaceX can do the same deliveries as NASA with hundreds of millions of USA dollars less. I think SpaceX will be the new NASA, but I do however think NASA is still the king.
Well i should definitely hope so, it was built to carry seven, and the COTS agreement has it set to eventually carry astronauts to the space station.
This is excites me to no end. The fact that we are getting so much closer to privatizing place flight. The fact that SpaceX is trying to consolidate expensive missions into a single mission. The fact that NASA will soon be free to R&D new break through technologies. Good job to everyone involved!
@pioneer10 - I see 2 guys wearing suits that are too small and shirts with collars containing too much starch saying "Hey kid don't worry about it...it's stuff you don't need to know about. Now run along"
When this was first brought up the Russians said that they would not allow it to dock for safety reasons. They wanted to test it for themselves.
I've never seen this in any US media. It was discussed in Ria Novosti, apparently the official Russian news outlet.
Would hate to have them drive all of the way up there and get hit with 'no parking '.
As for NASA, I think they still do a good job -- at least as good a job as anyone can do when they are owned by the politicians. OTOH the privates have benefitted from years of NASA research data. Then too, they're getting credit for a lot of things that they haven't managed to do just yet.
@iamtheparagon...does anyone ever get it, NASA funded and gave expertise, including humans, to spacex so it could stay afloat until it is profitable, NASA is leading spacex by the hand, including overseeing the tests that insure its saftey, the russians do not run the space station, WE do, they like to run their mouths but the US funded most of it and has the final say, astronauts will be next up, probably either current NASA astronauts or former ones, once again, great job for NASA having the vision to see the privatization of low earth orbit and later beyond that as the future and to push ahead and support spacex and other private space companies in the pursuit of space
Well this is great news indeed! So yeah I new NASA was lending a hand but I didn't know they were helping Space X so much though. I mean Space X is it's own company and I do believe that they actually most of their own research and development from what I understand. Anyways I cant wait for the day I can set foot on the Moon. Heres what Im going to do when that moment comes. I will say
"I came . I saw. I conquered."
The Singularity is Near.
Do they have guaranteed 2-day delivery?
NASA is a government funded (i.e. public) entity. Space Exploration Technologies is a private industry entity. Space X is not the new NASA. It's more like the new Walmart, and NASA is like Sam's Club. Just not as much bulk as back in the day.
So we traded the space shuttle for this crappy pod?? And this is a step forward?
@Aldrons Last Dope...f' off you f#cking troll bitch
@Aldrons Last Hope
It's a step forward because (while NASA is helping) Space X is one of many private entities that will be able to open the doorway to space access for more than just government employed astronauts.
As far as a technological step forward from the Space Shuttle, orbitally based interplanetary vehicles on the level of starfleet vessels are a little out of the budget for any one or group of countries at this moment.
Just wait for the first catastrophic cosmic cataclysm (or man made)that threatens the habitability of this planet and you'll stop hearing that nonsense about "terrestrial matters" being more important, and see more money flow into spaceflight development than water down Niagra Falls.
@dr_up_chuck, I dare you to write something that's actually more than a sentence fragment. LMAO
@pheonix1012 I'm not talking about Voyager type vessels (although that would be AWSOME)...but the 2nd gen shuttle is a crappy POD...that sucks. U.S.A makes about 16 trillion a year. Cut spending on welfare, spying on it's own citizens, and wars, and there would be an amazing space program that our generation can be proud of.
2nd NASA is giving out contracts to to private companies which is a push in the right direction. I'm all for companies like Space X and Virgin Galactic, and Bigello. Just a little impatient with their progress. Go team VASMIR!
How 'bout we stick VASMIR onto this capsule!
@ Aldrons last hope
Maybe they're going for the retro look... ;)
Smilies are mean to punctuation.
-Spouting a fountain of nonsense since 1995-
@Lord Elliot, it probably has shag carpeting LOL
@Aldrons Last Dope...can you read? you are nothing but a conspiracy theory nut bag troll...see comment #'s 3,4 and 11... dumb b#tch
Why don't they mention Orbital Sciences, which is also a part of the COTS program? Their first resupply mission will be early next year.
@dr_up_chuck even when you are able to write a complete sentence, it lacks substance, probably a reflection of your life...LOL. You know your "opinions" mean nothing to me. Also you are a sheep. How can you go through your whole life and still be a sheep? What a waste.