Dragons in Space!

Well, a private space capsule dubbed the Dragon is currently in low-earth orbit.  (UPDATE:  Whilst typing this they did the de-orbit burn… its hurtling toward Earth now for a splash-down.)   This marks the first time a private company has lofted a space-craft designed to carry humans into low-earth orbit.     SpaceShip1 reached the boundary, but not quite into LEO…   SpaceShip2 (VSS Enterprise) will be making the same trips.   The inflatable space habitats Bigelow put up there are prototypes not meant for human occupancy, although they are still in orbit.

Check out space.com for coverage on SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket it launched on.    Commercial space is moving forward.

In other news, JAXA missed their turn yesterday and the Akatsuki probe (Dawn in Japanese) missed Venus completely.   It will have to wait about 7 years before it will be close enough to Venus to try entering orbit again.   It lacks the fuel to perform a u-turn.

One Reply to “Dragons in Space!”

  1. Correction: Its not so much that they put something into LEO that is historic. Its that they’re the first commerical company to bring something back down to Earth from LEO. Previously that honor was only held by national space agencies. (Excepting of course those spacecraft that crashed into Earth do to a failed launch attempt that didn’t get them into orbit in the first place.)

    Seems like it was a very successful demonstration flight. Since NASA is going to be relying on companies like SpaceX to service the space station (and quite possibly get our astronauts to it), this is a very big step for the post-shuttle era of American Spaceflight.

    Congrats to SpaceX!

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