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NASA Space Transportation

SpaceX To Present Manned Dragon Capsule 128

Posted by timothy
from the calling-shotgun dept.
camperdave (969942) writes "SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is set to unveil the Dragon V2 at a media event from Hawthorne, California, tonight at 7 pm. Pacific. The 'Dragon V2' is an upgraded, man rated version of the unmanned spaceship that has made several successful cargo trips to the International Space Station. The new craft will carry a mix of cargo and up to a seven crewmembers to the ISS. According to Musk, this is 'Actual flight design hardware of crew Dragon, not a mockup.' Following the space shuttle's forced retirement in 2011, US astronauts have been totally dependent on the Russian Soyuz capsules for ferry rides to orbit and back. The crisis in Ukraine, which has resulted in some U.S. economic sanctions imposed against Russia, also has the potential to threaten U.S. access to the ISS as the Russian government considers reciprocal sanctions of its own. 'Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that @SpaceX has been working on with @NASA,' Musk tweeted. SpaceX is one of three commercial space companies competing for funding from NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability program." (You can watch the event as a webcast.)
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SpaceX To Present Manned Dragon Capsule

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  • I can't wait for SpaceX to take us to the moon.
    • by Red4man (1347635)
      Shouldn't you wait for Luna Park to be built first?

      Slow Down Cowboy!

      Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

      It's been 83 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

      ... but I have positive Karma and am contributing to a discussion, Slashbots!

      And you guys wonder why Digg and Reddit kick sand in your face on a daily basis.
    • given the incidents in which Russia is posing like the Bad Old Days are back, we need at least two operating alternatives to their facilities.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        The bad old days of being attacked by Germany or further back, being attacked by France. You really can't blame them for getting paranoid about a superpower spending billions in a neighbouring country to overthrow the elected government, a country that is in the process of putting missile defences on its borders as well as having missiles very close to its borders. You can imagine if the roles were reversed and Russia was spending money like crazy in Mexico to incite the population to overthrow their govern

        • by jabuzz (182671)

          That would be the elected government that turned out to be a bunch of corrupt pigs with their snouts in the trough. Just because you where democratically elected does not give you immunity to being overthrown if you turn out to be rotten eggs. Remember Hitler and the Nazi's where democratically elected.

          • by dryeo (100693)

            When there is an election on the horizon it seems that that should be the first option. If elections are cancelled like what happened in Nazi Germany then it's time to think about violence.

  • Seven crew? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by joebok (457904)

    Transport seven crew to the ISS? Well, I'm impressed!

    • by horm (2802801)
      The summary clearly states "up to a seven crewmembers."
    • by Delwin (599872)
      Seven crew means it can be used as an escape capsule for the ISS.
      • Seven crew means it can be used as an escape capsule for the ISS.

        Well, for seven of them, anyway. There have been times when there have been a dozen people aboard the ISS.

        • Re:Seven crew? (Score:5, Informative)

          by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @03:51PM (#47122631)

          Seven crew means it can be used as an escape capsule for the ISS.

          Well, for seven of them, anyway. There have been times when there have been a dozen people aboard the ISS.

          Not as ISS crew. This was only temporarily, while the Shuttle was visiting (record number
          of people on board the ISS is 13, but just for a couple of days: 6 ISS + 7 Shuttle).

          ISS design crew initially was 7 - but that has been reduced to 6 for the time being,
          due to the unavailability of full crew rescue vehicles.

          At the moment, 2x Soyuz are used as escape pods. A parked Dragon would help to get
          back to the initial crew size and free up a docking port. Very cool.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        An important cirterium for an ISS escape capsule is that it must be able to remain functional while being docked for months. I don't know if the dragon can be stored in space for half a year and still function reliably.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          I don't know if the dragon can be stored in space for half a year and still function reliably.

          That's not particularly hard, unless you generate your power from fuel cells, which would have to keep hydrogen liquid for months. And even the Apollo CSM could stay in space for 2-3 months for the longer Skylab missions.

        • Apparently [wikipedia.org] the Dragon capsule can remain docked for as much as 210 days... as long as a Soyuz. One of the many videos I was watching today said that the Dragon could be in orbit for two years.
  • NASA holding onto an out-moded Space Shuttle design, crimped the US's space efforts for decades.

    Welcome to the Space X Dragon and someone finally with GUTS; Elon Musk.

    • NASA holding onto an out-moded Space Shuttle design, crimped the US's space efforts for decades.

      Welcome to the Space X Dragon and someone finally with GUTS; Elon Musk.

      Well, there are reasons why NASA pushed the shuttle for so long that have nothing to do with incompetency. The whole "Gee whiz! Look kids! It's reusable!" approach was a way to save money in the face of budget cuts. Why were budgets being cut, do you ask? Well, there is no shortage of Americans who say "Why are we throwing away money on NASA for nothing when we have too many problems at home to fix?" It took a long time and 2 spectacular fatal events before the message got driven home so clearly that

    • by hey! (33014)

      That's because launch system designs don't just appear out thin air. They have to be paid for.

      What's more, there isn't enough money in the world to pay for a launch system project that is "privatized" the way politicians mean "privatized": undertaken by contractors with no competition and no money of their own at stake.

      • "there isn't enough money in the world to pay for a launch system", but wait there is enough money for a $1 trillion dollar program that has NOT achieved its stated desired results as verified by the GAO!

        Head Start = No Start

        • by hey! (33014)

          "there isn't enough money in the world to pay for a launch system", but wait there is enough money for a $1 trillion dollar program that has NOT achieved its stated desired results as verified by the GAO!

          Head Start = No Start

          QED.

    • Yeah, because it's so easy to design a new orbital vessel.

    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:48PM (#47121323)

      NASA holding onto? Are you insane? The space shuttle was MANDATED by congress, just like the heavy lift rocket they are developing for no reason. Not only does congress tell NASA what to build, they insist certain companies and states manufacturing capacity be used. NASA often isn't even allowed to price shop because it would price ATK and other defense contractors out of competition. NASA is treated by congress as one great big pork barrel where rather than giving NASA options to reduce cost they force NASA to buy and build things they don't even want. Not unlike the military where congress frequently forces the military to buy defense products they don't want because some congresscritter's district holds the factory.

      Remember Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex? Well NASA is a key component of that abuse because just like the DOD NASA spends enough money to draw the attention of those with influence who can make lots of money on those items.

    • NASA is helping SpaceX. Is Boeing a branch of the Federal Government? How is now different from before?
    • GUTS: Getting Us To Space!
    • by gman003 (1693318)

      The Space Shuttle is a really weird mix of qualities. The boosters are actually very good at their job - they're extremely powerful, and surprisingly reusable. The main engines are also good - they're some of the most efficient engines to be flown, period, and they're the most efficient that ever flew regularly. Using an external tank also is a good move - it's much cheaper, and it means the only thing getting thrown away is an empty tank. On paper, the Shuttle should have been an amazing craft.

      The biggest

  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @12:42PM (#47120631) Journal
    Let's get this baby loaded, do a couple unmanned tests, including the crew escape system and lets roll.

    I have to imagine if you're the Russian Space Agency this has to be very unwelcome news.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They have been testing a crew escape system, that has been one of the main things being tested for the man rated dragon design over the last few years.

      Its a novel design, it uses the RCS system to blast free from the rocket instead of an apollo style throw-away rocket tower mounted on top of the capsule.

      • It makes complete sense. Why add weight and complexity when you've got a perfectly good propulsion system already on your capsule.
        • by 0123456 (636235)

          It makes complete sense. Why add weight and complexity when you've got a perfectly good propulsion system already on your capsule.

          Isn't this one reason why SpaceX want to remove the parachutes, too? If you design it to land with the thrusters, they can perform launch abort, in-orbit maneuver, and landing with the same fuel (obviously, if you do a launch abort, you don't need any fuel for in-orbit maneuver, so it can be used for landing).

          • > SpaceX want to remove the parachutes, too?

            No, they are not removing the parachutes, they'll be kept as a backup system in case the landing thrusters fail.

  • It's hard to tell from the picture, but they looked lined up. What happens if a front seat rider spews during take off. I'd hate to be seated below.
  • The 'Dragon V2' is an upgraded, man rated version of the unmanned spaceship that has made several successful cargo trips to the International Space Station.

    The Dragon V2: Strong enough for a man, gyroscopically balanced for a woman!
    • by Shatrat (855151)

      Nasa talks like that. Musk knows his audience. http://history.nasa.gov/SP-420... [nasa.gov]

    • by necro81 (917438)
      Actually, my quibble isn't with the gender connotations of the statement, but with the verb tense of the statement. The V2 hasn't, as far as I know, actually received certification for manned space flight. Rather, it has been designed (and probably some testing complete) to be able to receive such a rating.

      It hasn't been rated yet, just that it could be and is intended to be. In that sense, it is more accurate to call it "man ratable" (the subjunctive tense) rather than "man rated" (past tense).
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Actually, my quibble isn't with the gender connotations of the statement, but with the verb tense of the statement. The V2 hasn't, as far as I know, actually received certification for manned space flight.

        Nor did the shuttle, as far as I'm aware. Certainly it couldn't meet NASA's current requirements for commercial crew (1 in 500 loss on ascent and 1 in 500 loss on descent, according to Wikipedia).

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      back in the days "man-rated" meant the ICBM was modified to not shake the man apart in pogo oscillations and speed the capsule up to 17,500 mph.
    • Thank God someone does not do this politically correct BULLSHIT.

      I still remember when Mankind was used as a word.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry if this was already asked but I only occasionally visit this site and it seems like there are far fewer comments and insights here. Is there some sort of boycott going on over the new format?

  • Chairs and cabin look like on Soyuz space ship.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Considering it's the only system not having massive failures in 30 years, well...

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Considering it's the only system not having massive failures in 30 years, well...

        It's come pretty close, though. If I remember correctly, the last decade has had at least one backward reentry when the service module failed to detach, and at least one ballistic reentry when the computer lost contol for some reason.

        • One of the nice things about the Soyuz design is that it will passively self-orient. Even if it starts re-entry backwards, the drag will pivot the craft into a heat-shield first orientation.
  • Really? I'm the first person to mention this? Before you decide to mod me into oblivion yes, it's on topic. Go watch Machete Kills

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