Monday, September 03, 2007

Video: NASA Shows Affection For Dragons In Space Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Image: Engineering Model of Dragon in SpaceX's El Segundo facilities. Credit: C. Thompson / SpaceX)

(Hat Tip: Spaceports)

It looks as if SpaceX, a company whose mission is to revolutionize the rocket industry has cleared its first hurdle in becoming NASA's "transport taxi" to the International Space Station (or ISS).

(SpaceX Press Release) SpaceX has successfully completed the first of three phases of review required by NASA's Safety Review Panel (SRP) to send its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). Over a series of meetings spanning four days at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, the team of SpaceX engineers developing the Dragon spacecraft presented their Phase I plans for sending the cargo version of Dragon to the $100 billion dollar orbiting space laboratory. [...]

"To date, no other group has passed the Hazard of Collision report the first time through or completed the overall review in such a short time," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. "The fact that we passed in under a week speaks well of our team's capabilities."

As part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition, SpaceX intends to demonstrate its launch, maneuvering and docking abilities by 2009 - a year before NASA has scheduled the conclusion of Space Shuttle operations.

With NASA seeking to retire its space shuttle by 2010, the space agency will need a way to temporarily transport goods to the ISS.

With a few members of Congress uneasy about outsourcing that job to foreigners (such as Russia or China), SpaceX could enable America to not only end its shuttle program, but allow the US to save face internationally by using an American company.

(Video: Simulation of SpaceX's Dragon approaching and docking with ISS. Credit: Odyssey Space Research)

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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