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SpaceX Cargo Capsule Reaches International Space Station 89

Despite having some trouble with maneuvering thrusters a few days ago, SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule has successfully reached the International Space Station. from the article: "Astronauts aboard the outpost used the station's robotic arm to pluck the capsule from orbit at 5:31 a.m. EST as the ships sailed 250 miles over northern Ukraine. Flight controllers at NASA's Mission Control in Houston then stepped in to drive the capsule to its berthing port on the station's Harmony connecting node."
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SpaceX Cargo Capsule Reaches International Space Station

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  • Re:Nice work ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alex Vulpes ( 2836855 ) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:02PM (#43063829)
    I think it's a throwaway. Looks like it burns up on re-entry. []
  • Re:Nice work ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ender06 ( 913978 ) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:21PM (#43063943)
    Dragon capsules are reusable, however, NASA has specifically contracted new capsules for every resupply mission. There's nothing stopping SpaceX from reusing the capsules for other missions, however. I know the demo 1 capsule, that performed a few orbits before returning, and demo 2 capsule, the first to berth with ISS, are both hanging outside mission control at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA.
  • Re:Nice work ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:39PM (#43063993)

    NASA only ordered new hardware for COTS missions.

    SpaceX has said that Dragon hardware from COTS missions will be refurbished for DragonLab missions. I'd be interested in seeing if refurbishing actually results in significant cost savings or not (I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I guess it depends on how much value is tied up in parts, versus labor).

  • Re:Nice work ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @09:05PM (#43064371)

    Many at NASA in the 1970s should be flogged for over-promising and under-budgeting a single-stage-to-orbit "truck".

    Keep in mind that Congress and the Air Force were back seat designers on the Space Shuttle. It wasn't all NASA's fault.

  • Re:Nice work ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:09AM (#43064937) Journal
    That "crispy" look is just soot/ash from the heat shield. You can see several places below the channel for the drogue chute's cord (the diagonal groove) where it has been rubbed off, showing a pristine white underneath. Besides, that picture only shows the bad side of the capsule. Take a look [] at the capsule from a few different [] angles []. You see, contrary to popular belief, capsules like this do not traverse through the atmosphere straight on. They "fly" in a tilted orientation. That's why the soot marks are on an angle, and one side of the capsule looks charred, while the other looks barely singed.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall