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NASA ISS Space Science

2nd SpaceX Demo Flight Slated For Feb. 7 42

Posted by timothy
from the makes-me-grin dept.
TheNextCorner writes with the news that "Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)'s second Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flight will be Feb. 7, 2012. Pending completion of final safety reviews, testing and verification, NASA also has agreed to allow SpaceX to send its Dragon spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in a single flight." Update: 12/10 06:41 GMT by T : Reader BenJCarter adds a link to an L.A. Times article on the ISS rendezvous (with a great photo).
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2nd SpaceX Demo Flight Slated For Feb. 7

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  • Commerce in space! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BenJCarter (902199) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @01:26AM (#38323462)
    Let's hope it makes spaceflight affordable b4 I am too old to launch...
    • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
      Yes, me too. If I have a dream I really want to happen, getting into outer space would be it...
    • ...b4 I am too old to launch...

      You are never too old to launch . . . http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-space-burial-20111209,0,993488.story [latimes.com] . . .

      Ask the ashes of "Scotty" . . . they almost made it . . .

    • In spite of the neo-cons (and one dem) attempting to destroy private space, I think that SpaceX will be JUST fine.

      What is REALLY needed is for the US to get at least ONE human launcher going again, AND biglow aerospace. The reason is that once you have several destinations with the ability to have competition for launch, prices will drop and more nations and businesses can afford to jump on to the space station. Personally, I would love to see either Paul Allen or the google boys pour some money into Spac
      • The neo-cons want to destroy spacex so they can keep private contractors in business int he worst possible way. Companies who get NASA contracts even if they fail. SpaceX like a normal private company must succeed in order to keep getting contracts.
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @02:29AM (#38323640) Homepage Journal
    23,000 pounds of payload into LEO (13,000 pounds if you don't count Dragon capsule itself)

    That's damn cheap! [airspacemag.com]
  • Sexy video at the bottom of the LA Times link. Everything looked very normal.. boring.. and exciting at the same time!

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @03:06AM (#38323758)

    Record a video before you leave which can be publicized widely in the event you're killed in the course of your mission. Make it very clear that you accepted the risks willingly, that your motives included the betterment of humanity, and that you felt they were important enough to die for them.

    Make it clear that your death was no different in spirit than that of a random, forgotten pioneer who might have suffered from dysentery or Indian attacks or smallpox or whatever. Explain that robots cannot, in fact, do everything a human might usefully do in space; that this sort of shit sometimes happens; and that everybody should just deal with it and get over it, already.

    In short, make it clear that you would be very angry if people were to use your death as an excuse to cripple and delay manned space exploration any more than it already has been.

    Why leave a video? Because sooner or later, one of the private US-based launch efforts is going to kill one or more of its crew members. Strong men will cry on TV, flags will wave solemnly, Jesus will be praised, and America will enter its usual 10-years-of-sackcloth-and-ashes routine. Politicians will compete to see who can ban X, Y, or Z first. No further progress will be made because, fuck, man, somebody got killed the last time!

    You need to tell everyone that this is a bullshit attitude. Remind them that if we have to wait until space travel is as safe as boarding an airplane in order to make any forward progress, we will end up in the same place we would've ended up in if we had insisted on delaying aeronautical research until flying was as safe as walking.

    • To note: Cars are still legal -- I see or hear of people killed on those death-traps we call highways every day. We may have better safety guidelines now, but the industry doesn't stop. Occasional deaths seem to be part of the cost of doing business with the living.

      I suppose it may be a valid point to consider: When rockets kill people it's usually REALLY expensive both in terms of the hardware and highly skilled individuals -- Unless, of course, we're launching the rockets at brown people; Then people

    • by ModernGeek (601932) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @03:53AM (#38323924) Homepage
      This ten times over. Whenever the Apollo 1 fire happened, and whenever the shuttles broke apart, I felt that too many others were speaking for the fallen astronauts. However, I don't feel that it should be in the form of a video for post-death viewing, they should be vocal about their thoughts before going into space. I've never understood why people are so scared to think of the what-if's. I think we need to take the taboo out of death, and that we should all let our loved ones know our vision for the future for whenever we inevitably kick the bucket.
    • Apollo 1 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by trawg (308495) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:31AM (#38324290) Homepage

      Great post. Never forget that if the USA had given up after Apollo 1, you guess would never have gotten to the moon. Make them heroes to inspire, not cautionary tales to scare children and deter them from a lifetime of trying.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        That would be insightful if it weren't for the fact that the moon landings are fake. How is a big platter of cheese supposed to support a lunar lander?

    • by Teancum (67324)

      What you are missing with this diatribe is that the Commercial Space Launch Act [msn.com] already provides the indemnities via law for somebody who is going into space, and is something that has been addressed repeatedly at many congressional hearings in regards to private individuals going into space on commercial carriers.

      Basically, anybody who wants to put their money down on any sort of spaceflight experience should already know before they sign a contract to travel on one of these vehicles that they are experime

      • Yes, some people might die in space. Then again, a great many people die each year in automotive traffic as well as get killed by commuter rail services or even urban "light rail" transit systems. Does that stop those transportation devices from ever being used after those deaths? Why is spaceflight any different?

        For no other reason than the fireball is bigger and more cameras are watching.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          When was the last time there were cameras pointed on the most recent scientific satellite sent into space?

          I though so. That is sort of the point where once spaceflight becomes routine, nobody will care. The complaint is that suddenly there will be people trying to shut down spaceflight when a death occurs. Sure, just like when a commercial aircraft crashes with deaths due to a design flaw, there will be an investigation and perhaps even the vehicle model will have its "air worthiness certificate" pulled,

      • Does that stop those transportation devices from ever being used after those deaths? Why is spaceflight any different?

        (Shrug) I don't know, you tell me. That was the question I was implicitly asking. I don't see a difference, myself.

        History shows that contracts and laws, by themselves, aren't enough to save us from years of unproductive sobbing and navel-gazing after something spectacular goes wrong in space.

    • by thrich81 (1357561)
      This is going to sound a bit insensitive but the astronauts you refer to need to start with their families and it needs to apply to government and private crews. At least one of the widows from the Apollo 1 crew sued and got a settlement and some or all of the family members of the crew killed in the Challenger loss sued and got settlements either from Morton-Thiokol or the Government. I'm not going name names because of the touchiness of the issue but it is easy enough to look up.
    • by ultranova (717540)

      Explain that robots cannot, in fact, do everything a human might usefully do in space;

      So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

      Why leave a video? Because sooner or later, one of the private US-based launch efforts is going to kill one or more of its crew members. Strong men will cry on TV, flags will wave solemnly, Jesus will be praised, and America will enter its usual 10-years-of-sackcloth-and-ashes routine. P

      • by khallow (566160)

        Automation has come a long way since then. Early airplanes couldn't be flown by autopilot, current spacecraft can and do. Trying to draw analogues between the two very different situations doesn't really help your position.

        So what? That's not a relevant difference. The very different situations aren't very different. Hence, the effectiveness of the analogy.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

        Cover more ground in a single day than a Mars rover has covered in several years?

        While I agree that we should be sending robots around the solar system rather than launching humans in cans to float around in orbit doing little that's useful, when you want to do real exploration there's little substitute for humans on the ground, and there's little point in going into space unless we plan to live there.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Cover more ground in a single day than a Mars rover has covered in several years?

          How much supplies does a human being need to survive a single day on Mars? And how many rovers could be sent on the same weight budget?

          While I agree that we should be sending robots around the solar system rather than launching humans in cans to float around in orbit doing little that's useful, when you want to do real exploration there's little substitute for humans on the ground, and there's little point in going into space

      • So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

        You want to think that question through the rest of the way. If your reasoning held any water, we wouldn't have hundreds or thousands of willing volunteers for a one-way mission to Mars.

        Food for thought: what can humans experience on a mountaintop that they couldn't experience in their own warm, safe basements, just by taking the right drugs?

        • by ultranova (717540)

          So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

          You want to think that question through the rest of the way. If your reasoning held any water, we wouldn't have hundreds or thousands of willing volunteers for a one-way mission to Mars.

          That is a complete non-sequiter. How an Earth does "I want to go to Mars" imply "I can do more than a robots on a similar weight budget on Mars"?

          Food for thought: what can humans experien

          • Pay for it yourself, or give me some reason to pay for it rather than spending the money on probes and basic research.

            Which is the point of not only my post, but the whole freakin' article.

            Read first, then type.

    • by jsewell (86485)

      http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gus_Grissom [wikiquote.org]

      If we die we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life. Our god-given curiosity will force us to go there ourselves because in the final analysis, only man can fully evaluate the moon in terms understandable to other men.

      On the dangers and importance of the mission of going to the moon in "Gemini : A Personal Account of Man's Venture

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        He mentioned God (god) in a non-negative fashion. Someone on slashdot is bound to say they're glad he's dead.

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