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Space Transportation

2013 Will Be a Big Year For Private Spaceflight 62

An article at 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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  • Go (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> 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.

  • 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!


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @02:40AM (#42448209)

    What was the point of becoming seafaring, and going to the same wet place as before?

    Well, the obvious answer is that there were other interesting places on the other side of that "wet place" called the ocean.
    Likewise, there are other interesting places on the other side of that "empty space" you complain about.

    People want to go see those places and possibly even settle there, and they don't need your permission for it.
    If you don't like those places, you're free to go back under the bridge, troll.

  • Re:Wait. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PeterBrett ( 780946 ) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @09:42AM (#42449639) Homepage

    Some guys down the corridor from me are literally using a Makerbot to fabricate flight components for prototype satellite plasma thrusters.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein