A few months ago we were given the opportunity to witness a test flight of SpaceX's mission to the International Space Station (ISS). After a high-profile aborted attempt, the spacecraft finally launched. But that was just the dress rehearsal. Last night the real future of NASA began.
Elon Musk, who helped launch PayPal, Tesla Motors and most recently SpaceX, is pretty dang serious about getting our asses to Mars. Before Curiosity, colonies on Mars were knocked back to the 2030s — or beyond, even. Now? We may only have to wait "12 to 15 years."
When SpaceX's Dragon capsule successfully splashed down into the warm embrace of the Pacific ocean a few months ago, it meant that commercial spaceflight had finally arrived and was here to stay. We covered the mission from start to finish, but a new video from SpaceX itself (with lots of unique footage from launch to landing) is definitely worth a few minutes of your time.
Today saw SpaceX's Dragon capsule splashdown safely in the Pacific Ocean after its demonstration flight and visit to the International Space Station. Space exploration can now check off another milestone: the first time a commercial spacecraft resupplied a space station.
NASA and SpaceX have decided on a time for the latter's Dragon commercial space capsule to return to our planet. Once again you'll be able to watch it live, but this time you may actually be able to sleep in. UPDATE: Dragon successfully splashed down at 11:42 A.M. PDT. See more here.
The tiny little black dot in the lower left of this picture is the SpaceX Dragon capsule with its solar panel unfurled, performing a "fly-under" about a mile beneath the International Space Station. After Tuesday's flawless launch, Dragon is now maneuvering for berthing with the station on Friday.
After a dramatic last-second abort early Saturday, SpaceX enjoyed a picture-perfect launch Tuesday morning, with its Falcon 9 rocket delivering the company's Dragon capsule into orbit. NASA's chief called it "the brink of a new future," while SpaceX's founder remarked that "it was like winning the Super Bowl."
In what was a brutal reminder that NASA can (and should) delay a launch at any time if there's a perceived problem, SpaceX's highly anticipated liftoff was stopped short just before its Falcon 9 rocket should have been streaking toward the sky, and Dragon's historic rendezvous.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday morning, May 19 at 4:55 A.M. EDT. If all goes well, SpaceX's Dragon capsule will be one step closer to ferrying astronauts up to orbit and opening the door for manned private spaceflight missions in the future. Update inside.
An exact date has bounced around for the last couple of weeks, and NASA is finally giving SpaceX the go for a rendezvous between the company's Dragon capsule and the International Space Station. It's a landmark launch for SpaceX, and one that's poised to make history for the next generation of manned spacefaring efforts.