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ISS NASA Space Science

SpaceX Given Approval For ISS Mission 143

An anonymous reader sends this snippet from an AFP report: "California-based rocket maker SpaceX said that it will make a test flight in late November to the International Space Station, now that NASA has retired its space shuttle program. 'SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for our next flight — a mission designed to demonstrate that a privately-developed space transportation system can deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS),' the company, also called Space Exploration Technologies, said in a statement. The mission is the second to be carried out by SpaceX, one of a handful of firms competing to make a spaceship to replace the now-defunct US shuttle, which had been used to carry supplies and equipment to the orbiting outpost. 'NASA has given us a November 30, 2011 launch date, which should be followed nine days later by Dragon berthing at the ISS,' the company said." SpaceX has an information sheet for the Dragon capsule, as well as an interesting post about the costs involved in their launches.
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SpaceX Given Approval For ISS Mission

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  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @12:58AM (#37115528)

    "It's a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one's safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract." - Alan Shepard (supposedly, it's often quoted but I haven't seen a definitive source)

  • by Narmacil ( 1189367 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @12:59AM (#37115536)

    SpaceX Update []

    This goes more into what's been going on running up to the launch, and has some great pictures of the rocket/capsule/facility in hawthorne (I took one of them :P)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @01:02AM (#37115552)

    Just to be clear, this isn't "NASA's process", it's the new normal for just about everything which requires Congressional approval. If a gear doesn't touch all 40+ states during manufacture, it probably won't get built.

  • Re:Obama was right (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[ten.orezten] [ta] [gninroh_trebor]> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:02AM (#37116492) Homepage Journal

    I wish I could take credit for this quote, but I have to give the credit to some other person:

    Democrats don't think capitalism works below the sky, Republicans don't think it works above

    That about sums up the problem here. I've raised the issue in Republican political discussion forums thinking that maybe somebody might get a clue that Republican congressmen are two faced on this particular issue. Such discussion threads usually go like a lead balloon and die a premature death as nobody responds or even sees a problem... or worse yet defends Republican congressmen for their actions to support a central design bureau with a command economy structure because it benefits their own districts.

  • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @09:49AM (#37118552) Homepage Journal

    "Private contractors cannot afford the screw ups."

    You ever work for a private contractor? I assure you, they screw up all the time. Sometimes it costs them, sometimes they dodge it. Sometimes they learn, sometimes they don't. Cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, bureaucracy, inertia, etc., all exist in the corporate world, too.

    SpaceX succeeds because they're new and small and nimble and aren't tied to existing dead weight. And more power to them for it.

    The main advantage of private industry is that (ideally) there are opportunities for competitors to replace the defective ones. (It doesn't always work that way in practice, due to startup costs, network effects, etc., of course.)

    Aerospace has high startup costs, so it's been a tough one. Fortunately, with SpaceX, some investors with very deep pockets have decided to have a go. They've also gotten funding from the government, but so far have largely avoided getting tied into any existing pork, which is great.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison