Thursday, August 24, 2006

A picture says a thousand words...

And each word is cool, cool, cool...

By popular demand, I am posting the photos that SpaceX has released regarding the Nasa COTS project. COTS stands for Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, and is intended to build a replacement for the shuttle to send cargo and people to the space station and beyond.

The project culminates in the delivery of cargo to the ISS in 2009. If that is successful, Nasa can extend the agreement to transport crew members to the ISS.

With that aside, here are the pics:

First of all, SpaceX's transportation vehicle will be a rocket, and not a replica of the shuttle.

The Rocket is the Falcon 9, and it will carry the Dragon Space Ship in its ferring, much the same as in Apollo Program. While it is not a space plane, both Falcon 9 and Dragon are fully reusable, which is a major breakthrough in launch vehicle design.

A 3D viewing of the interior of Dragon, in its cargo-carrying configuration:

How Dragon would be configured to carry crew:

How Dragon would connect with the International Space Station:

Dragon docking to the Internation Space Station:

Dragon docked to the ISS:

The part of Dragon that carries the cargo and people back to Earth:

The crew configuration for return to Earth:

As I said, cool, cool, cool...


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Friday, August 18, 2006

And the winner is...

What do you do when really crazy good things happen to you. The kind of crazy good things that not only are too good to be true, but in fact are so rare in occurrence that it becomes almost nonsensical.

Like SpaceX getting to build the next Space Shuttle.

Well, you smile. You smile a really goofy, uncontrolled smile.

Like this one:

A stand-in for a SpaceX employee after the announcement

Seriously though, it is crazy. Here is a company that is barely four years old, but working as hard as they can to make a difference in an industry that was slowly dying from asphyxiation.

And what happens? The government actually considers that a good thing!! Whoa! What happened? I thought the government was supposed to squeeze the last breath out of these sort of efforts.

Turns out that someone different is running the show. Someone that said the way of the past hasn't been as successful as we might like to pretend.

Apparently spending an average of $1.3 Billion per shuttle launch isn't as practical as they once thought. [To be fair, that number is the total money spent on the shuttle program divided by number of shuttles launched, not the marginal cost of each launch - still, that's a lot of pesos]

Un-freaking believable. Congrats to the SpaceX team.

Oh yeah, and if you're wondering when the next launch of Falcon1 will occur, we're targeting before the end of the year.



Disclaimer: Nothing has changed and this is still not official SpaceX information. Please refer to the appropriate people at SpaceX for any and all launch information.

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