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Space Transportation

2013 Will Be a Big Year For Private Spaceflight 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the rocket-and-roll dept.
An article at Space.com forecasts an important year for private space companies in 2013. SpaceX is working on a new version of its Dragon capsule that is quite different from the current model. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the first iteration looked similar to other space capsules because the SpaceX team was learning as they went. Now, they're drawing on the expertise they've gained to tailor the new capsule to their needs. "Musk described Dragon version 2 as having 'legs that pop out' and added that it uses parachutes and its eight SuperDraco thrusters for a 'propulsive landing.'" The capsule will hold up to seven people, and they hope to win a crew transportation contract for getting NASA astronauts up to the ISS. The bidding for that contract starts in the second half of 2013. Commercial space planes are also set to reach new heights in 2013. XCOR Aerospace will be building its Lynx I rocket plane, and a spokesman said, "we’ll be doing test fights throughout the year from early 2013 and then go into commercial flights." Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will also undergo its first rocket-powered flight this year.
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2013 Will Be a Big Year For Private Spaceflight

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  • Wait. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Andy Prough (2730467) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @07:57PM (#42446099)
    I thought it was the year of the Linux Desktop. What the hell? We're all going to space instead of installing Ubuntu this year???
    • Re:Wait. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @08:09PM (#42446173)

      Ubuntu has fallen from grace, thus we go to space...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since Unity was the default window manager and forced onto upgrade versions, nobody except for 3 people will be installing ubuntu this year.

      It is important for the nerds here to not have a circle-jerk over private space travel - From both design and commercial passenger perspectives, private space travel is only a hobby for the rich who have nothing else to do, kinda like how Romney ran for president. Some people run for president, some design rockets, and some pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop t

      • It is important for the nerds here to not have a circle-jerk over private space travel

        What you ask is impossible. This is Slashdot.

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)

          I don't think any of us are under the impression that we'll be buying tickets for private flights to mars in 2013.

          But I'm excited about private spaceflight anyways. The cost of a launch is coming waaaay down. They're working on sending humans to mars, even if I won't be able to afford to be one of them. It won't be long before I'll be able to afford to send up a cubesat as my own pet project. All of that is exciting to me.

          I'm sure there are reasons, but I honestly don't understand why people love to hate on

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        the issue is privatized space travel, for now governments can afford to be their clients. this is an important step on the path to colonization.
        the biggest breakthrough would be a low power lift system, colossal carbon tube (made in 2008 at Fudan U. in China and Los Alamos in the USA) may be the perfect material for cable

      • Go (Score:5, Interesting)

        by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@ p ... r e trograde.com> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @09:11PM (#42446551)

        It is important for the nerds here to have a circle-jerk over private space travel - From both design and commercial passenger perspectives, private air travel was also once only a hobby for the rich who have nothing else to do, kinda like how back then Roosevelt ran for president and lost against Woodrow Wilson. Some people run for president, some design flying machines, and some pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to ride in those airplanes. This reinventing and monetizing the wheel has all happened before and it was revolutionary, not nearly as profound as colonization, but it made all far off places accessible to reach from anywhere, thus hastening immigration to said colonies, and also Air Mail Happened!

        All while the 1900's era kids were eating newfangled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for dinner and parents were wondering how they were gonna pay for one of Ford's new "affordable" automobiles and next month's rent.

        Crazy how only one century ago travel by automobile or air was something only the rich could do... How silly a nay sayer like yourself would seem to us now, but back then some might have foolishly considered such sentiments insightful. Today we're talking about doing the same for space, and you're less excited than Sam-I-am prior to having tried green space eggs and ham.

        • Wilson, Roosevelt, the wheel, colonization, Air Mail, PB&Js, Fords, and finally Green Eggs & Ham. Confused I am.

          Where the "...walked into a bar..." part?

        • by BeanThere (28381)

          Humans will be going to space. We'll be travelling to space, we'll be colonizing space, we'll be visiting planets and terraforming them. So way I see it, you can either be part of this future, and be part of something exciting, or you can sit back on earth making "clever" cynical remarks, and get left behind to wallow in the mud of primitivism. I know which one I'll choose.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What is expensive today will become cheaper tomorrow. What is exclusive today will become more accessible tomorrow.

        I like that Musk is in it for more than just the buck$, and wants to really open up the heavens, instead of just trying to keep things exclusive, expensive and high-margin. He's freeing us from the bonds of gravity, and helping us to leave the womb.

        If he achieves everything that he's promising, then one day people will talk about him like we talk about Moses.

    • by Megane (129182)
      Maybe it'll be the year of Linux Powered Spaceflight instead!
      • by Nutria (679911)

        At least some of the Falcon & Dragon flight control computers "are programmed in C++ and run the Linux OS".

    • I see the inevitable humor of saying year X is the the year of Y. But I suspect there are similarities between the year of Linux on the Desktop and the year of Private Flight to Space. It either won't happen or it would just happen because someone we know has just won a raffle ticket to the ISS and beyond. For that matter was there ever a year of Linux on the Server or in the Pocket? I'm still hedging my bets on 2013 being the year of 3D Printing on Desktop.

      • I'm still hedging my bets on 2013 being the year of 3D Printing on Desktop.

        Don't hold your breath. It's a great tool for rapid prototyping for engineers and small-run craft businesses, but that's about it for now. It's an amazing technology, but sadly overhyped given the price of a good printer (by "good" I mean "anything nicer than a reprap or older Makerbot -- something like a Replicator 2 as a baseline). Check back in 2015-2016 or so when things like the Replicator 2 and Form 1 are showing their age and coming down in price.

    • by DavidClarkeHR (2769805) <david...clarke@@@hrgeneralist...ca> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @08:59PM (#42446487)

      I thought it was the year of the Linux Desktop. What the hell? We're all going to space instead of installing Ubuntu this year???

      Sorry, Year of the linux desktop was 2003-2007, and 2009. 2010, 2012-2014 are designated as the year of the private spaceflight.

      2008 was year of the end of going to war all the time in the USA and 2011 was year of waiting for Duke Nukem Forever and then trying to forget it ever existed.

    • by drankr (2796221)
      No, seriously: what do you think will power those flights software-wise?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      What do you think the onboard computers in those rockets, as well as the computers at Mission Control, will be running? I seriously doubt it will be Windows 8.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These are like Jesus. Always coming and never here.

    • Sounds like my ex-boyfriend, always coming but never here... I never compared him to Jesus, though...

  • by mykepredko (40154) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @12:27AM (#42447701) Homepage

    Disappointing because Elon Musk is doing more to make spaceflight exciting than probably anybody since the 1960s by being up front and centre about what he is doing. The Dragon 2 sounds quite interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing the evolving concept (especially in light of the experiments that SpaceX have been publicizing).

    The Boeing entry, even though it is similar to SpaceX's just seems to be "corporate".

    XCOR seems to be an (interesting) contender for sub-orbital while Scaled Composites & SS2 have kind of dropped off the radar and has been eclipsed by SpaceX showing that individuals can actually make it into space for real.

    Nice to see progress and some renewed promise for space!

    myke

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