Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

2nd SpaceX Demo Flight Slated For Feb. 7

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the makes-me-grin dept.

NASA 42

TheNextCorner writes with the news that "Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)'s second Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flight will be Feb. 7, 2012. Pending completion of final safety reviews, testing and verification, NASA also has agreed to allow SpaceX to send its Dragon spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in a single flight." Update: 12/10 06:41 GMT by T : Reader BenJCarter adds a link to an L.A. Times article on the ISS rendezvous (with a great photo).

cancel ×

42 comments

NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38323404)

Since NASA is willing to send interns on shakedown flights, I guess they also approved SpaceX to strap in Elon on this one.

Re:NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (1, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323784)

And since you're willing to post on the intarwebs, I've approved you to stick your head in a blender. The Dragon is currently unmanned and when it is finally used for manned space flight, not likely to send people to the ISS as part of that first mission.

Re:NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38324830)

Elon Musk has also stated categorically that he will not be flying on the Dragon at any point in the near future... at least not until he is prepared to go into retirement from SpaceX and some of his other endeavors. His concern is if there is a mishap of some sort.... the company would go down with him. Yes, there might be somebody to take his spot in theory, but he is the main money man behind the company and is certainly setting the agenda for what SpaceX is doing.

As for what the destination of the first crewed version of the Dragon might be, I'd give it 50/50 odds that it would go to a Bigelow habitat instead of the ISS. I wish SpaceX would take things a little more carefully rather than trying to do the "all up" testing they seem to be striving for, but then again I'm not having to pay the $100 M+ of actual costs to build + fly the rocket.

I rather like the testing style of Armadillo Aerospace, but then again they are starting with much smaller rockets and have only recently been able to get to 100k feet [youtube.com] . John Carmack also doesn't have Elon's budget either.

Re:NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38324872)

What makes you think that SpaceX aren't being careful? The all-up test is only the last testing step; it's preceded by the usual unit tests.
In fact SpaceX are being more careful than most; they've designed the Falcon 9 so that they can assemble the first stage, do a test fire and then launch that same first stage. I don't remember NASA doing such full-scale test runs on the Shuttle, for example.

Re:NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (1)

BZWingZero (1119881) | more than 2 years ago | (#38326484)

NASA did do a full duration "Flight Readiness Firing" before each Shuttle lifted off for its first mission. Videos of them can even be found on Youtube.

Like Columbia's. [youtu.be]

Re:NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38327512)

There's actually an example of that happening.

American Rocket was the hot ticket for a private space launch company in the 80s. Unfortunately, the main person behind the company, George Koopman was killed in an auto accident. They suffered a launch failure 3 months later and never were able to recover.

Re:NASA intern, SpaceX Elon (1)

zerospeaks (1467571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487074)

Still... it does make you pause for a second. He will not fly on his own spaceship.

Commerce in space! (5, Interesting)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323462)

Let's hope it makes spaceflight affordable b4 I am too old to launch...

Re:Commerce in space! (2)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323854)

Yes, me too. If I have a dream I really want to happen, getting into outer space would be it...

Re:Commerce in space! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332650)

"outer space"? Do you have any idea how large space is? You know that all we can do is Low Earth Orbit? And for all practical purposes, compared to the size of the universe, all we can manage is nothing? Might as well stay on the Earth, it's already in space and comes with fail-safe life support.

If you're SO interested in "space", why don't you go to Russia and fly in a MiG? It'll be just as good, a lot cheaper, safer and accessible.

Re:Commerce in space! (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38324044)

...b4 I am too old to launch...

You are never too old to launch . . . http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-space-burial-20111209,0,993488.story [latimes.com] . . .

Ask the ashes of "Scotty" . . . they almost made it . . .

Re:Commerce in space! (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331328)

Lol, I forgot about that!

Re:Commerce in space! (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38326304)

In spite of the neo-cons (and one dem) attempting to destroy private space, I think that SpaceX will be JUST fine.

What is REALLY needed is for the US to get at least ONE human launcher going again, AND biglow aerospace. The reason is that once you have several destinations with the ability to have competition for launch, prices will drop and more nations and businesses can afford to jump on to the space station. Personally, I would love to see either Paul Allen or the google boys pour some money into SpaceX, even if a combination of investing and lending, to get Human launch occurring quickly.

Re:Commerce in space! (1)

zerospeaks (1467571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38487100)

The neo-cons want to destroy spacex so they can keep private contractors in business int he worst possible way. Companies who get NASA contracts even if they fail. SpaceX like a normal private company must succeed in order to keep getting contracts.

suck my nuts (0)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323468)

bizznitch!

spacex should kiss (0)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323558)

my butt

$57 million per launch, (4, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323640)

23,000 pounds of payload into LEO (13,000 pounds if you don't count Dragon capsule itself)

That's damn cheap! [airspacemag.com]

Re:$57 million per launch, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38323868)

23,000 pounds of payload into LEO (13,000 pounds if you don't count Dragon capsule itself)

That's almost enough for your Mom!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist the setup.

Re:$57 million per launch, (1)

jamvger (2526832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38326372)

Elon is my hero. He has said that if they don't achieve reusability [wikipedia.org] , he will consider them to have failed.

You do realize that SpaceX real record (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38330774)

... is 90% FAILURES? Yes, it sounds cheap .... until the cargo is lost.

Out of all the test, only one cargo made it to orbit .... and the orbit it reached was lower than the target, forcing the spacecraft to use fuel and power intended for functionality and longevity .... minimizing the lifespan of the spacecraft. And then there is the "Dragon" test. The media completely ignores the fact that it CRASH LANDED on 1st test.

Re:You do realize that SpaceX real record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331016)

You're just a jealous, anti-American bean counter.
What do you have against $14-trillion debt, false flag operations across the world, stealing from the poor to give to the rich (bankers),....

Nice vid (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323742)

Sexy video at the bottom of the LA Times link. Everything looked very normal.. boring.. and exciting at the same time!

Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (5, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323758)

Record a video before you leave which can be publicized widely in the event you're killed in the course of your mission. Make it very clear that you accepted the risks willingly, that your motives included the betterment of humanity, and that you felt they were important enough to die for them.

Make it clear that your death was no different in spirit than that of a random, forgotten pioneer who might have suffered from dysentery or Indian attacks or smallpox or whatever. Explain that robots cannot, in fact, do everything a human might usefully do in space; that this sort of shit sometimes happens; and that everybody should just deal with it and get over it, already.

In short, make it clear that you would be very angry if people were to use your death as an excuse to cripple and delay manned space exploration any more than it already has been.

Why leave a video? Because sooner or later, one of the private US-based launch efforts is going to kill one or more of its crew members. Strong men will cry on TV, flags will wave solemnly, Jesus will be praised, and America will enter its usual 10-years-of-sackcloth-and-ashes routine. Politicians will compete to see who can ban X, Y, or Z first. No further progress will be made because, fuck, man, somebody got killed the last time!

You need to tell everyone that this is a bullshit attitude. Remind them that if we have to wait until space travel is as safe as boarding an airplane in order to make any forward progress, we will end up in the same place we would've ended up in if we had insisted on delaying aeronautical research until flying was as safe as walking.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323866)

To note: Cars are still legal -- I see or hear of people killed on those death-traps we call highways every day. We may have better safety guidelines now, but the industry doesn't stop. Occasional deaths seem to be part of the cost of doing business with the living.

I suppose it may be a valid point to consider: When rockets kill people it's usually REALLY expensive both in terms of the hardware and highly skilled individuals -- Unless, of course, we're launching the rockets at brown people; Then people seem to care a lot less...

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (4, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323924)

This ten times over. Whenever the Apollo 1 fire happened, and whenever the shuttles broke apart, I felt that too many others were speaking for the fallen astronauts. However, I don't feel that it should be in the form of a video for post-death viewing, they should be vocal about their thoughts before going into space. I've never understood why people are so scared to think of the what-if's. I think we need to take the taboo out of death, and that we should all let our loved ones know our vision for the future for whenever we inevitably kick the bucket.

Not to forget... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38324208)

The 100,000 killed and murdered in pointless "wars" for the profit of our enemies. (You know who I mean by "enemies". Those that actually hurt us, and not just show up in a news report video about "OMG TEH TERRORISTZ/COMMIES/WHATEVER" every now and then.)

Apollo 1 (4, Interesting)

trawg (308495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38324290)

Great post. Never forget that if the USA had given up after Apollo 1, you guess would never have gotten to the moon. Make them heroes to inspire, not cautionary tales to scare children and deter them from a lifetime of trying.

Re:Apollo 1 (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332746)

That would be insightful if it weren't for the fact that the moon landings are fake. How is a big platter of cheese supposed to support a lunar lander?

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38324852)

What you are missing with this diatribe is that the Commercial Space Launch Act [msn.com] already provides the indemnities via law for somebody who is going into space, and is something that has been addressed repeatedly at many congressional hearings in regards to private individuals going into space on commercial carriers.

Basically, anybody who wants to put their money down on any sort of spaceflight experience should already know before they sign a contract to travel on one of these vehicles that they are experimental and have not been certified by the FAA for general usage like is the case with most commercial air transport services.

Yes, some people might die in space. Then again, a great many people die each year in automotive traffic as well as get killed by commuter rail services or even urban "light rail" transit systems. Does that stop those transportation devices from ever being used after those deaths? Why is spaceflight any different?

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

edumacator (910819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38325304)

Yes, some people might die in space. Then again, a great many people die each year in automotive traffic as well as get killed by commuter rail services or even urban "light rail" transit systems. Does that stop those transportation devices from ever being used after those deaths? Why is spaceflight any different?

For no other reason than the fireball is bigger and more cameras are watching.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38347940)

When was the last time there were cameras pointed on the most recent scientific satellite sent into space?

I though so. That is sort of the point where once spaceflight becomes routine, nobody will care. The complaint is that suddenly there will be people trying to shut down spaceflight when a death occurs. Sure, just like when a commercial aircraft crashes with deaths due to a design flaw, there will be an investigation and perhaps even the vehicle model will have its "air worthiness certificate" pulled, but it doesn't stop commercial aviation. The same system and mentality should be in place for spaceflight as well.

Of course that implies there are multiple ways available for getting into space. At the moment there is only one: Using a Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft. Even that has some problems where even that method of going into space could be in danger.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330602)

Does that stop those transportation devices from ever being used after those deaths? Why is spaceflight any different?

(Shrug) I don't know, you tell me. That was the question I was implicitly asking. I don't see a difference, myself.

History shows that contracts and laws, by themselves, aren't enough to save us from years of unproductive sobbing and navel-gazing after something spectacular goes wrong in space.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38325382)

This is going to sound a bit insensitive but the astronauts you refer to need to start with their families and it needs to apply to government and private crews. At least one of the widows from the Apollo 1 crew sued and got a settlement and some or all of the family members of the crew killed in the Challenger loss sued and got settlements either from Morton-Thiokol or the Government. I'm not going name names because of the touchiness of the issue but it is easy enough to look up.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#38325944)

Explain that robots cannot, in fact, do everything a human might usefully do in space;

So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

Why leave a video? Because sooner or later, one of the private US-based launch efforts is going to kill one or more of its crew members. Strong men will cry on TV, flags will wave solemnly, Jesus will be praised, and America will enter its usual 10-years-of-sackcloth-and-ashes routine. Politicians will compete to see who can ban X, Y, or Z first. No further progress will be made because, fuck, man, somebody got killed the last time!

Perhaps you shouldn't send people up, then? Because the progress of launch vehicles doesn't depend on what the cargo is. Keep on sending up satellites and probes until it's safe - not that a chemical-based rocket ever will be, because it simply doesn't have enough power to make it sturdy and still capable of reaching orbit.

Besides, there's plenty more than just sending people up in establishing a self-sufficient colony. Projects like this [wikipedia.org] need to be succesfully completed to build them something to go to. This requires sending up a lot of materials, which requires a cheap cargo ship - so that's what we should focus on right now.

Remind them that if we have to wait until space travel is as safe as boarding an airplane in order to make any forward progress, we will end up in the same place we would've ended up in if we had insisted on delaying aeronautical research until flying was as safe as walking.

Automation has come a long way since then. Early airplanes couldn't be flown by autopilot, current spacecraft can and do. Trying to draw analogues between the two very different situations doesn't really help your position.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38327314)

Automation has come a long way since then. Early airplanes couldn't be flown by autopilot, current spacecraft can and do. Trying to draw analogues between the two very different situations doesn't really help your position.

So what? That's not a relevant difference. The very different situations aren't very different. Hence, the effectiveness of the analogy.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38328290)

So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

Cover more ground in a single day than a Mars rover has covered in several years?

While I agree that we should be sending robots around the solar system rather than launching humans in cans to float around in orbit doing little that's useful, when you want to do real exploration there's little substitute for humans on the ground, and there's little point in going into space unless we plan to live there.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333936)

Cover more ground in a single day than a Mars rover has covered in several years?

How much supplies does a human being need to survive a single day on Mars? And how many rovers could be sent on the same weight budget?

While I agree that we should be sending robots around the solar system rather than launching humans in cans to float around in orbit doing little that's useful, when you want to do real exploration there's little substitute for humans on the ground, and there's little point in going into space unless we plan to live there.

I agree. However, currently we don't have the technology needed to colonize space. Given that, sending up humans is a waste of resources that should instead be put into achieving said technology. Engine tests, material tests, self-sufficient biome tests, automated miner robot tests... There are a million small, boring, but necessary things to take care of before we can seriously start planning colonization, and manned spaceflight simply distracts from them.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38330634)

So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

You want to think that question through the rest of the way. If your reasoning held any water, we wouldn't have hundreds or thousands of willing volunteers for a one-way mission to Mars.

Food for thought: what can humans experience on a mountaintop that they couldn't experience in their own warm, safe basements, just by taking the right drugs?

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333992)

So what can humans do in space that robots can't, besides waste lots of weight on support equipment and make bad press when shit happens?

You want to think that question through the rest of the way. If your reasoning held any water, we wouldn't have hundreds or thousands of willing volunteers for a one-way mission to Mars.

That is a complete non-sequiter. How an Earth does "I want to go to Mars" imply "I can do more than a robots on a similar weight budget on Mars"?

Food for thought: what can humans experience on a mountaintop that they couldn't experience in their own warm, safe basements, just by taking the right drugs?

I said do, not experience. You want an experience, climb that mountain or buy those drugs. You want a ticket to Mars? Pay for it yourself, or give me some reason to pay for it rather than spending the money on probes and basic research.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38339166)

Pay for it yourself, or give me some reason to pay for it rather than spending the money on probes and basic research.

Which is the point of not only my post, but the whole freakin' article.

Read first, then type.

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (2)

jsewell (86485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38329182)

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gus_Grissom [wikiquote.org]

If we die we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life. Our god-given curiosity will force us to go there ourselves because in the final analysis, only man can fully evaluate the moon in terms understandable to other men.

On the dangers and importance of the mission of going to the moon in "Gemini : A Personal Account of Man's Venture Into Space (1968) by Virgil I. Grissom

Re:Suggestion to astronauts, private and otherwise (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332758)

He mentioned God (god) in a non-negative fashion. Someone on slashdot is bound to say they're glad he's dead.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...