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Video At Long Last, a Private Cargo Spaceship Takes Off (Video) 137

Tuesday morning at 0344, right on schedule (and it had to be right on schedule), Elon Musk's baby finally left the launch pad on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). Two babies, actually: the Falcon 9 launch vehicle is what we watched as it took off from Cape Canaveral -- the first private spaceship headed for the ISS -- with the Dragon spacecraft perched on its nose. The Dragon carried over 1000 pounds of supplies and experiments for the ISS. The launch went off without a hitch. But don't stop holding your breath quite yet; Dragon isn't scheduled to dock at the ISS until Friday.
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At Long Last, a Private Cargo Spaceship Takes Off (Video)

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  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @07:02PM (#40081723)

    Scotty is on board.

  • Not bad, Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @07:24PM (#40081861) Homepage Journal
    • Using video for action, text for info. Check.
    • Very little "talking heads". Check
    • Geek interest. Check
    • Short, and to the point. Check

    Not bad. That's the way to do video.

  • Downloadable? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vanyel ( 28049 ) * on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @07:29PM (#40081895) Journal

    Tsk Tsk for slashdot of all places to embed video that's not at least compatible with downloadhelper so one can download the video and watch it on a decent screen without strbuffering: []

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @07:31PM (#40081917) Homepage

    From a layman's perspective, I'm confused as to why it takes so long to get to LEO? How fast does this compare with the space shuttle? Why does it take so long to dock?

    It's not McDonald's. You don't just drive up to it. Like a beautiful woman, you have to chase it... No, I didn't really say that.

    Basically, they're taking their time checking systems out. They are doing a close approach pass to ensure that the communications and control links work before taking it in close. A Soyuz capsule has already crash-parked into the ISS with much consternation and concern. They're just being really, really careful.

  • by CapOblivious2010 ( 1731402 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @08:02PM (#40082113)
    Yes, getting 100+ miles high is the easy part - getting that high with 17,000 MPH of sideways velocity is where it gets tricky. Without that much sideways velocity, you just fall back down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @09:57PM (#40082669)

    Yeah, you could call Lockheed Martin, Morton Thaikol, Boeing,, et al "private companies", but I think the difference is that none of them would suck a deep breath without a government contract signed, sealed and delivered.

    SpaceX designed, built and tested their Falcon rocket and Dragon spacecraft on their own dime.

    Yes, I know NASA provided some funding, but that was extra funding. You can bet Elon Musk would have funded the whole thing himself if he had to.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @10:55PM (#40082947)

    If it had been left to the private sector, we'd wouldn't have got to the moon, mars, the heliosheath. And despite the fact that earth orbit is profitable, probably no private sector project would have made the investment or taken the risk to go to space at all.

    Space X can only do what it's doing now because it's standing on the shoulders of previous public sector projects. And heck this very project is being paid for by the public sector.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:45AM (#40084209)
    Prior to the Challenger disaster in 1986, NASA had grabbed the entire space market in the US. Private companies couldn't launch payloads on rockets other than the Shuttle. And there's a long history of NASA (and US Congress) acting to protect businesses that had long been contractors for NASA. For example, consider the oligopoly of space launch providers, including the Shuttle, that had existed after Challenger through to the DoD's EELV (Evolutionary Expendable Launch Vehicle) program which encouraged competition between Boeing and Lockheed Martin's launch vehicles and creation of new launch vehicles just below the Shuttle's range.

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