Dave Stancliff Where No Civilian Companies Have Gone Before: Private Space Travel to Make Giant Leaps in 2013 blogarama.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Where No Civilian Companies Have Gone Before: Private Space Travel to Make Giant Leaps in 2013

Dream Chaser space plane

                                             Good Day World!

  I’m feeling kinda old today while scanning stories about space travel to share. Buck Rogers would be comfortable with all of this talk about space flight in 2013.

This is all so 21st Century. Space supply ships. The Dragon capsule. Dragon Version 2. SuperDraco  thrusters. International space station. SpaceX. Beam me up Scotty!

“Private companies building new spaceships to soar through orbital and suborbital space are looking forward to an action-packed year in 2013, with new flight tests, launches, wind tunnel tests and rocket technology trials all planned during the new year. 

Image: An artistic rendition of the Dream Chaser vehicle launching into space. Sierra Nevada

Of the many spacecraft being developed only one has already flown in space, the Dragon capsule built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, Calif.The unmanned cargo ship has flown in space three times so far, and carried supplies to the International Space Station twice in 2012 — first in May during a test and then again October.

SpaceX’s next cargo flight to the station is set for May 2013. But a new astronaut-carrying version of Dragon is also in the works. The crewed capsule will be different from its robotic predecessor in several key areas, with SpaceX set to advancing technology for the new ship in 2013.

“Dragon Version 2 won’t look like [today’s Dragon]. I think it looks pretty cool. Dragon one, we didn’t really know what we were doing so that’s why Dragon looks similar to things that have happened in the past,”SpaceX founder Elon Musk told an audience during a talk at the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Nov. 21. 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.” [SpaceX’s Dragon at the Space Station (Photos)]

The SuperDraco thrusters, located around the base of the Dragon, also act as the pusher launch abort system to move the capsule (and crew) clear of its rocket during a launch emergency.

While Musk was unavailable for to discuss SpaceX’s plans for 2013, company officials did provide SPACE.com details on its expected activities.

NASA needs private space taxis
SpaceX is developing the seven-person Dragon 2 capsule to compete for NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) crew transportation contract. NASA’s commercial crew program is helping industry develop competing space transportation systems to win this ISS contract. Ed Mango is the commercial crew program manager.

“2013 will be a huge year for us. In the first couple of months we’ll kick off work for our certification contract and we’ll award that shortly,” Mango told SPACE.com. (Read the rest here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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