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After Trip to ISS, SpaceX's Dragon Capsule Returns Safely To Earth

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the congratulations-all-around dept.

ISS 150

thomas.kane writes "SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft has successfully reentered and is now safely in the waters of the Pacific Ocean after more than 9 days in space. The Dragon capsule became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station on May 25; SpaceX is contracted by NASA for at least 12 more flights in the coming months bringing supplies to the space station and returning science done on board back to Earth." Reader MightyMartian adds a link to coverage at the BBC.

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first! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168217)

first!

Re:first! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168303)

first commercial post to dock!

FTFY

Re:first! (0)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168497)

first commercial post to dock!

FTFY

Uh oh, someone woke the dragon.

Re:first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169595)

Beware of space. There be dragons.

Re:first! (0)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169047)

first commercial post to dock!

FTFY

first commercial post to berth!

FTFFY

Dragon Capsule Returns Safety (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168305)

Now I feel waaay more secure

Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (3, Insightful)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168327)

Touched down intact, but I wouldn't declare it safe till they recover it and open it... Re-entry is a bitch...

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168445)

I believe they've already recovered a large cheese intact from the previous Dragon launch. Re-entry has already been tested, and fishing stuff out of the water isn't exactly an experimental process.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168585)

Cheese or no cheese, every re-entry is different. Just because they have tested it once doesn't mean it is fail safe. I will consider the mission complete when Dragon is back on land and has been emptied of its return cargo.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (2)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168649)

Oh Really? Gus Grissom would like to have a word with you, or would if he were alive.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168783)

Details: [wikipedia.org]

On July 21, 1961, Grissom was pilot of the second Project Mercury flight, Mercury-Redstone 4, popularly known as Liberty Bell 7. This was a suborbital flight which lasted 15 minutes and 37 seconds. After splashdown, emergency explosive bolts unexpectedly fired and blew the hatch off, causing water to flood into the spacecraft. Quickly exiting through the open hatch and into the ocean, Grissom was nearly drowned as water began filling his spacesuit. A nearby helicopter tried to lift and recover the spacecraft, but the flooding spacecraft became too heavy, and it was ultimately cut loose before sinking.

Grissom asserted he had done nothing to cause the hatch to blow, and NASA officials eventually concluded that he was correct. Initiating the explosive egress system required hitting a metal trigger with the side of a closed fist, which unavoidably left a large, obvious bruise on the astronaut's hand,[citation needed] but Grissom was found not to have any of the tell-tale bruising. Still, controversy remained, and fellow Mercury astronaut Wally Schirra, at the end of his October 3, 1962 flight, remained inside his spacecraft until it was safely aboard the recovery ship, and made a point of deliberately blowing the hatch to get out, bruising his hand.[26]

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168893)

Because he totally died during re-entry on the second flight of his spaceship?

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168835)

Super heating a capsule, then dumping it into salt water for hours isn't cut and dry... There are MANY things that could go wrong..

Also if the stuff they sent back is smashed to bits from a hard landing, then well they have lots of work to do before sending humans.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168905)

But the CHEESE!

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (2)

wampus (1932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169061)

Cheese would have either melted or been mashed to bits if the landing was all that bad. It really is just delicious ballistics gelatin.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (3, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169455)

Also if the stuff they sent back is smashed to bits from a hard landing, then well they have lots of work to do before sending humans.

The thing landed at 17 feet per second, about 11.5 miles per hour. Future missions call for a touchdown on a launchpad on land with the assistance of rockets, not even a water landing.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (2, Interesting)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169495)

You can clearly see that it splashed down about a minute earlier than their estimate in the following video. They quickly took the time down and never mentioned it again... A minute's worth of miscalculation at 1000km/s could be a big fast mistake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWBFeZv5Kvw [youtube.com]

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169555)

*km/h

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (3, Informative)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169787)

Then again, a minutes worth of miscalculation while dangling from a *parachute* might not be as much "mistake" as "acceptable margin of error"

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170587)

The chute opened basically exactly on schedule. That's where you go from precise de-orbit calculations to dealing with localized weather. The chute was open for about 5 minutes, travel speed was about 12 mph with the chutes open. If they had expected a 2-3 mph updraft but didn't get one, then that explains the water landing being a minute or so early. Really no concern here.

Re:Safely? in the waters of the Pacific Ocean (4, Informative)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170563)

Elon just answered that they were off by a few seconds because of wind. He said that if it weren't for wind, they could land Dragon in someone's backyard.

Congratulation! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168339)

This is most excelent news. I, for one, welcome our new private sector space overlords!

Safety... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168351)

I'm happy to see Safety successfully returned to Earth.

Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (5, Interesting)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168359)

This is fantastic news. I don't care what you think of space policy or anything, this is a good day for everybody.

Now, let's see NASA make good on their promise to hand over LEO to the private sector so they can think about Mars and beyond!

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168419)

Agreed, if they verify everything is in tact this is an industry-making day. I wish all the best to SpaceX!

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168533)

Now, let's see NASA make good on their promise to hand over LEO to the private sector so they can think about Mars and beyond!

I hope the hell they don't - there's plenty of useful work to be done in LEO yet. (Even though it doesn't give space fanbois any wood.)

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168715)

Indeed. Until they figure out the medical issues (bone loss, eyesight loss in male astronauts, etc.), they're going nowhere. With the Space Shuttle decommissioned, and the penny-pinchers in charge of LEO, you can just forget about Mars, etc. in your lifetime.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169143)

Obviously no astronauts have gone beyond low-Earth orbit, nor have been in space for any length of time to figure out how to survive in space beyond a couple of days. I'm glad to see that mankind is condemned to live upon this poor excuse of a rock called Earth.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169239)

Other than the Moon landings, which weren't really LEO missions.

Nor the Skylab missions, which lasted longer than a few days, nor the ISS crews.

But you were swooshing me, right?

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (4, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170045)

Elon Musk's primary goal in founding SpaceX is to go to Mars and I would give him as good a chance of acheiving it as anyone.

The shuttle being decommisioned improves the odds of going to Mars, not reduces them. It was a money sink and it promoted the mind set of being stuck in LEO because it was stuck in LEO. It had also acquired so many restrictions for safety issues it was barely doing its vastly reduced mission. It had turned in to a pork barrell project to make jobs at NASA, Boeing and Lockheed, not do anything worthwhile in space (outside of servicing Hubble).

Intelsat [spacex.com] signed the first commercial contract for Falcon Heavy yesterday and if SpaceX can successfully build and launch those, and even better recover and reuse them, they will be a far more valuable tool in leaving LEO and going to Mars than Shuttle every would be.

I personally dont think bone loss and eyesight are going to be show stopping issue for Mars. Radiation exposure in deep space and on the surface of Mars is the serious issue unless you can get a ship with enough shielding and propulsion to move the shielding.

Me personally and I'm sure lots of others would volunteer for a Mars mission even if it was a one way mission and life shortening. To me the ideal mission to Mars is a one way trip with a permenent stay, and a logistics train to support a permenent colony. The zero G issues are more a problem returning to 1G and earth than they would be staying in 1/3 G on Mars which isn't as bad as zero G. A one way trip also saves a long return trip in zero G to get back to Earth. Even if zero G is a problem you can build a larger ship and spin it enough to get 1/3 G. That is an engineering challenge, not a show stopping issue.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

denvergeek (1184943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170883)

...eyesight loss in male astronauts...

Whoah, so it WILL make you go blind!

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170285)

I hope the hell they don't - there's plenty of useful work to be done in LEO yet. (Even though it doesn't give space fanbois any wood.)

I hope to hell they do -- by doing all the useful work in LEO that will enable it, like orbital refueling depots or even shipyards. Getting to LEO is what needs to be handed off.

If we can make access to LEO routine and cheap (relatively speaking), and allow NASA to develop LEO capabilities instead of wasting all their money on pork launchers so they can start their missions from components launched to LEO on commodity rockets, then we can make getting to the Moon trivial, and Mars easy enough that it's conceivable to do without stopping all other NASA work.

This is my dream, and it could happen. Crazy.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170567)

Same thing though - let them focus on things that no-one else can do just as efficiently but cheaper. In other words, the non-commercially-viable stuff. That's the kind of thing government projects are for.

The only problem is that Congress is more likely to just cut NASA budget on the grounds that they can now save by using SpaceX...

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (5, Interesting)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168639)

The funny thing is, SpaceX is already looking to Mars. The heat shield is designed to survive re-entry from a deep space trajectory.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168825)

One question that just came to mind; has anything ever been brought *back* from Mars? I know we've sent a few things there, but they just get left there, right? Imagine the study that scientists could do if they got up close to a few hundred pounds of soil samples brought back from there.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (3, Interesting)

edremy (36408) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169103)

Have humans brought things back? No. There have been various proposed Mars sample return missions but they've always been too expensive.

Has nature? Yes. There are quite a few meteorites that originated on Mars [nasa.gov] .

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168965)

Lets not assume 1 success means 'turning over' LEO the next day.

And the will never turn over LEO completely. They will always monitor it and dictate policy. As they should.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169013)

It is not up to NASA. It is CONgress, specifically the GOP that is hard at work trying to stop this. Instead, the GOP is pushing the SLS jobs bill and hard at work at gutting any money for private space development.
Oddly, those GOP bastards would rather spend MORE money being dependent on Russia and even China, that they consider an enemy, then they would on helping our own companies become successful. All to keep money flowing into their districts. Sad that we elect traitors like this based on their party.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169337)

Traitors is a bit harsh. Actually, uncalled for. That said, it's really bizarre that so many Republicans in Congress keep trying to kill private enterprise in favor of a statist space program. The hypocrisy, it burns. On the other hand, once private enterprise starts becoming really successful at opening space, I expect this to reverse, with GOP pushing private space and the Dems trying to tax and regulate it to death. Both parties suck.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (2)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169895)

Simple - the state run space programs are still built by private industries, just not the same ones that line their pockets.

Re:Fantastic. Now let's see NASA push further! (4, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170903)

It is hypocrisy but the aerospace companies that have dominated U.S. space access are also defense contractors and the Republican's are completely in thrall to defense contractors. Lockheed and Boeing help run the Republican party alongside big banks, big pharma and big fossil fuels.

The American manned space program hasn't been about space exploration since Apollo ended. Its been about creating contracts for Lockheed and Boeing and creating jobs in the states of powerful Senators like Hatch in Utah, Shelby in Alabama, Hutchinson in Texas and Nelson in Florida(he is a Democrat).

You can tell Lockheed has bought out Congress and the DOD because they've received back to back gigantic contracts for fighter jets both of which are staggeringly expensive and neither of which work, the F-22 and the F-35. The U.S. is currently committed to spending over $1 trillion we don't have on F-35's which have proven to be deeply flawed and are entering production without even being half way through flight test. F-22's have such serious oxygen system issues pilots are refusing to fly them and have never been used in combat. When a pilot blacked out and crashed an F-22, the DOD and Lockheed somehow managed to blame the pilot even when they new the Oxygen system was failing which shows how morally contemptible they are.

Safety? (1)

OttoM (467655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168381)

Never knew they took safety with them.

they're The Man, now dawg! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169035)

Safety not guaranteed.
They have only done this once before.

Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (2)

stox (131684) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168453)

The beginning of a new age of space exploration.

Now stop goofing off, and start building Discovery already. I have monoliths that need checking out.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168599)

The beginning of a new age of space exploration.

SpaceX is doing space exploration in the same sense that trucking companies do land exploration.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168713)

It says "beginning" for a reason. SpaceX has already expressed desire to reach Mars and beyond, which is far more than your trucking analogy equates to.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (5, Funny)

DroolTwist (1357725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168809)

Ice Road Space Truckers.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168761)

Most explorers were "truckers" of their era.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169265)

Most explorers were "truckers" of their era.

Most explorers explored to serve the interests of regular commerce like "truckers", but they weren't carrying cargo to a already-known place by an established route through previously explored territority. Or, at least, when they did that, it wasn't called "exploration", even if they did that as well as exploration.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (4, Insightful)

cfulton (543949) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169631)

Truckers is just what we need. In order for space exploration to be successful we need boring, easily repeated, safe access to LOE. If they can make LOE boring and trucker like then we have a much better chance of getting past LOE. Until then every flight into space beyond earth will have weight and power constraints placed on it be the launch vehicle. Once shipping to LOE is easy and cheap we can build ships that are no longer constrained by the need to be completely contained in the payload compartment of the launch vehicle.

Re:Congratulations to the gang at SpaceX (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168935)

"I have monoliths that need checking out."

Exploration is best done by probes. Figuring out how to sustain humans in space is best done by short-range manned missions.

The two are different. There being no urgency to put meat in space before developing the machines which will be required (forever) for man to interact with the completely hostile environment of space, send robots first. We need those on Terra too.

This would separate exploration from entertainment while letting "tourists" buy the ride of their dreams.

Observation (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168607)

In digging around various information sources on Dragon, I noticed something odd: It appears in this [wikipedia.org] photo that the capsule is equipped with standard red/green navigation lights [wikipedia.org] . Are these actual nav lights? Are they an FAA requirement?

Re:Observation (4, Interesting)

weiserfireman (917228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168701)

interesting

But I would imagine it has to do more with docking the spaceship rather than reentry. The way they are both oriented on the same side is what makes me believe that.

Red/green lights are normally located on opposite sides of the aircraft/ship so that you can tell which direction it is going at night.

Re:Observation (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170037)

Fly upside down.

Re:Observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168767)

Ocean vessels use them too.

Or it could be an orientation thing. Red and green lights allow you to tell at a glance which way vessel is travelling (usually for towards or away).

Re:Observation (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169269)

Ocean vessels use them too.

Right. And they were adopted for aviation use.

Or it could be an orientation thing. Red and green lights allow you to tell at a glance which way vessel is travelling (usually for towards or away).

And nav lights on boats/aircraft serve much the same purpose. At a distance, you can tell which way the vessel is traveling, if its moving (not an issue for air/spacecraft of course) and something about its size and type. Although the needs would be somewhat different, it would make sense to use configurations already familiar to pilots on spacecraft.

Re:Observation (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169005)

I'm not sure about the navigation lights themselves, but Dragon did have a strobe light that the ISS crew could turn on and off. It served the dual purpose of allowing them to find the craft, and it acted as a confirmation that the Dragon was receiving and processing commands from the ISS.

Saving "Brainspace" i think (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169583)

Given that you would need that type of lighting on a craft i would bet that the whole Red/Green thing is saving the amount of needed thought for the various operators

"Okay we need it with White on top Red on Left and Green on the right ... okay looks good ... keep coming ...."

Re:Saving "Brainspace" i think (1)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170889)

Well maybe (white on tail , red on left, green on right).

I originally thought the spatial separation for the red and green isn't very high (just either side of the solar panel on one side of the dragon trunk) which makes it only visible from one orientation so it's not very useful at all, but if you assume they are only using it for docking with people in control having it be something common is a good idea to save brainspace...

FWIW, I think the russian module uses flashing nav lights for automatic docking (flashing lights are usable on a monochrome camera), red/green lights seem mostly tailored for human consumption...

Stupid Wikipedia (5, Interesting)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170191)

I read your post and immediately thought "How did he link to the Wikipedia article and not see where it mentions piloted spacecraft?" only to find out someone deleted all references to spacecraft in January with no explanation.

You can see the previous [wikipedia.org] version here.

My understanding is that manned, piloted spacecraft are supposed to have nav lights on them. The Shuttle didn't have them because the FAA gave them a waiver and special airspace.

Return of the Dragon (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168623)

That should be the title of the soon to be released documentary.

Re:Return of the Dragon (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168839)

Starring Bruce Lee [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Return of the Dragon (5, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168897)

Re-Enter The Dragon

Re:Return of the Dragon (2)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169307)

when entering the capsule, you must declare "you have offended my family, and you have offended the shaolin temple" . It would be really great if the inside of the caspsule was lined in prisms and mirrors

Re:Return of the Dragon (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169665)

...also, your lip movements must not match your speaking.

Everybody's thinking it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168729)

so I'll just say it. The Millenium Falcon was built by private enterprise. This is a great day.

Re:Everybody's thinking it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168875)

So was Serenity

Re:Everybody's thinking it... (3, Interesting)

crypticedge (1335931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169345)

The Death Star was built by government labor, as was the Enterprise.

Re:Everybody's thinking it... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169795)

That's why the Death Star was blown up TWICE, and the Enterprise was a crappy ship.

Should read... (-1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168871)

..."Part of Dragon Capsule Returns Safely To Earth."
Unfortunately, the back half is jettisoned and burns up. It's a wonderful achievement but it isn't a spaceship. The shuttles were spaceships. Earth doesn't have any at present (unless you count the US Air Force's little robot one).

Re:Should read... (2)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168997)

..."Part of Dragon Capsule Returns Safely To Earth."
Unfortunately, the back half is jettisoned and burns up. It's a wonderful achievement but it isn't a spaceship. The shuttles were spaceships. Earth doesn't have any at present (unless you count the US Air Force's little robot one).

By this logic, Apollo wasn't a spaceship since the "back half" (a.k.a. Service Module or SM) was jettisoned and burned up prior to re-entry.

Re:Should read... (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169865)

> By this logic, Apollo wasn't a spaceship...

Correct. Non-reusable "capsules" are not spaceships.

Re:Should read... (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170751)

Good thing the Dragon is reusable then, isn't it?

Re:Should read... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170807)

Ah, but Dragon IS reusable. The fact that SpaceX has no intention of proving that using NASA's absolutely insane reusability standard that was created for the purpose of improving the pork byproduct of the Space Shuttle doesn't mean it isn't. Instead, it will have to be reused for purely commercial missions that don't involve the ISS. No big deal.

Re:Should read... (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169393)

Your "logic" is inconsistent. The external tank on the Shuttle was also jettisoned and burned up on reentry. This it must not have been a spaceship either.

Re:Should read... (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169913)

The tank never entered orbit. Every part of the shuttle that reached orbit returned (and more importantly, went up again). A ship is not a single-use device.

The highlight of the trip (4, Funny)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168887)

Had to be the video of the astronauts opening up the space capsule with the required safety goggles and masks. If something failed and an astronaut got sucked into space I am sure his final words would have been "The goggles, they do nothing...".

Its great to see private enterprise enter the space race now, maybe NASA will stop billing $20k for a toilet seat and $30k for a hammer because SpaceX can get them at Walmart for $5 a piece.

Re:The highlight of the trip (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169243)

They wouldn't get sucked anywhere unless there was an explosive failure of the pressurized shell that would break it apart. A hole/crack may suck all the air out, but it won't suck you out unless you put yourself right against it, and even then it must be big enough to generate sufficient shears to break apart your tissues.

Re:The highlight of the trip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169271)

Its great to see private enterprise enter the space race now, maybe NASA will stop billing $20k for a toilet seat and $30k for a hammer because SpaceX can get them at Walmart for $5 a piece.

You expect competition with only two organizations?

I think we will have to wait until there are at least 2 companies with the intention of competing around.

Re:The highlight of the trip (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170043)

well.. there's the russians who do it for money. and these guys.

that's a lot more than just russians.

Re:The highlight of the trip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169539)

Do you know what it costs to put those things up there? That is why NASA is looking into 3D printers to make the required tools as they need them.

Re:The highlight of the trip (4, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170417)

Had to be the video of the astronauts opening up the space capsule with the required safety goggles and masks.

In microgravity, loose things float around. If something sharp came loose inside the Dragon, you don't want it to get in your eye. In an environment that's been entirely sealed for days, material outgassing or particulate breakdown can cause hazards which wouldn't be a problem on Earth because air movement would carry it away. So goggles and masks make sense.

Its great to see private enterprise enter the space race now, maybe NASA will stop billing $20k for a toilet seat and $30k for a hammer because SpaceX can get them at Walmart for $5 a piece.

Which is fine until the toxic outgassing from your $5 Chinese toilet seat poisons the atmosphere over the next month and kills the crew.

One of the reasons space is legitimately expensive is because many things become complex when you don't have any gravity and are living in a sealed environment.

New heat shield technology (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168901)

SpaceX has just announced the great success of its new heat shield technology. It turns out they were burning facebook shares to protect the craft.

The real test are the next 2 flights (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40168921)

SpaceX has several flights of dragon and one sat coming later this year. The question becomes does SpaceX have their QA in line to handle these without errors. Likewise, can they launch the dragons on-time (in august and dec)? If they get it on-time, then I have little doubt that they will succeed next year.
Do note that SpaceX is suppose to launch a sat on the F9 in Oct. I would not be surprised to see them carry that through to next year. The reason is that they will have to make sure that sat release is decent. However, I will be impressed if they DO get all 3 off the ground and without any real errors.

Finally, note that Falcon Heavy is coming. It is 'suppose' to launch this year, but that is not likely. SpaceX will be doing checks and re-checks (even spaceX says that there is little chance of it launching this year). If SpaceX can get that off the ground in the first half of next year again without major errors, SpaceX OWNS the industry.

Windbourne

Re:The real test are the next 2 flights (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169261)

Agreed on the Heavy requiring due diligence. The cost of losing one is close to the cost of losing three F9s.

An era of trillionaires (3, Interesting)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168983)

It would be interesting to see if the human expansion into space eventually ushers in further extension of the extremes of inequality, with the first trillionaires (as measured in today's currency, adjusted for inflation) being, say, asteroid mining tycoons. I don't yet have much of an opinion here; I'm more interested on reading others' thoughts on this.

Re:An era of trillionaires (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169755)

Of course. And they will need not just robots up there, but human workers. And then the day will come when the workers decide to rise up against their masters. Then the robots will rise up against everybody. And then a lot of people will be killed IN SPACE!

Re:An era of trillionaires (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169955)

One of the reasons there hasn't been much commercial interest in space is there's no way to make money. Under no conceivable scenario is it going to be cheaper to mine asteroids and ship back the product than to just mine the stuff here on the earth. You might want to mine asteroids if you want to build something in orbit or at a Lagrange point, but then the question becomes "what are you building that's going to eventually return a profit?"

Now, maybe, hundreds of years from now there will actually be people living in space or on mars, at which point you could argue some sort of permanent infrastructure makes commercial sense (and could thus be profitable). But that's not going to happen for many generations if it ever does.

Re:An era of trillionaires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170839)

Actually, I can think of one big thing that would be perfect to mine for: fuel, air, and other consumables.

If I want to leave Earth orbit, I not only need fuel to get to orbit, I need fuel to get out of orbit. And then I need fuel to lift the fuel I need to get out of orbit. Oxygen and the like also add a lot of weight that you then need to lift. But if I could set up what amounts to a series of gas stations in orbit, then I'm now lifting a lot less to orbit. I just need enough leftover fuel and air to be able to abort safely if the refuel goes wrong in orbit. That means my deep space launches can be cheaper once this refueling infrastructure is in place, and I can even do more 'express' missions. This sort of thing is actually what Planetary Resources is after.

Part of the problem is that there is a catch-22. Deep space missions are expensive in part because of a lack of infrastructure that makes it cheaper, and so we fly a small number of them. Nobody builds the infrastructure because we fly too small a number to make the infrastructure profitable on its own.

Re:An era of trillionaires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170913)

You underestimate the power of the lunatic environmentalist fringe. It's already nearly impossible to open a new mine in the United States or Western Europe. It's becoming increasingly difficult elsewhere. China bought mining rights in Chile and had trouble with environmentalists. CHINA had trouble with environmentalists. You know it's getting bad when even that manufacturing superpower is getting flak from human-hating lunatics.

Re:An era of trillionaires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170663)

Have you never played Doom?

Did the launch stages land? (1)

Aesculapius (147375) | more than 2 years ago | (#40168999)

Does anyone know if the primary and secondary launch stages landed safely? I can't find any info on this.

Re:Did the launch stages land? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169283)

I don't think they recovered any of their stages from previous missions, so that would be a first. Recovery is hard, and it's a secondary objective for them. They are very slow on online publicity releases, too. Just look at their website.

Re:Did the launch stages land? (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169419)

They did not, unless you count high speed impact as landing. Recovery of those stages is planned future capability.

Looking forward to launch/return of crewed Dragon (3, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169295)

Imagine what that would be like of a successful and safe flight of Dragon carrying people to and from ISS. SpaceX may even beat a crewed Orion (so far they are ahead in terms of actually flying something). There are many critics saying it cannot be done, but reminds me back in usenet days, someone posted a story of a sci-fi author who noted names and home phone numbers of every journalist that denigrated Apollo program during 1960s. Then while really drunk while Neil and Buzz walked the surface of the moon, and in middle of the night he called these journalists on the phone, yelled, "Ya dumb son-of-a-bitch!" and hung up.

Anyone collecting names and phone numbers?

Re:Looking forward to launch/return of crewed Drag (2)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169731)

Arthur Dent? Arthur Philip Dent?

You're a jerk. A complete kneebiter.

Re:Looking forward to launch/return of crewed Drag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169893)

Facebook? :-)

Re:Looking forward to launch/return of crewed Drag (3, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170257)

Imagine what that would be like of a successful and safe flight of Dragon carrying people to and from ISS. SpaceX may even beat a crewed Orion (so far they are ahead in terms of actually flying something). There are many critics saying it cannot be done, but reminds me back in usenet days, someone posted a story of a sci-fi author who noted names and home phone numbers of every journalist that denigrated Apollo program during 1960s. Then while really drunk while Neil and Buzz walked the surface of the moon, and in middle of the night he called these journalists on the phone, yelled, "Ya dumb son-of-a-bitch!" and hung up.

Anyone collecting names and phone numbers?

I am pretty sure Neil and Buzz were not drunk while they walked on the moon.

Re:Looking forward to launch/return of crewed Drag (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170499)

Yeah, he was only buzzed.

Re:Looking forward to launch/return of crewed Drag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170525)

Imagine what that would be like of a successful and safe flight of Dragon carrying people to and from ISS. SpaceX may even beat a crewed Orion (so far they are ahead in terms of actually flying something). There are many critics saying it cannot be done, but reminds me back in usenet days, someone posted a story of a sci-fi author who noted names and home phone numbers of every journalist that denigrated Apollo program during 1960s. Then while really drunk while Neil and Buzz walked the surface of the moon, and in middle of the night he called these journalists on the phone, yelled, "Ya dumb son-of-a-bitch!" and hung up.

Anyone collecting names and phone numbers?

I am pretty sure Neil and Buzz were not drunk while they walked on the moon.

I think he meant the Sci-Fi author did the drunk-dialing bit, while watching a sober Neil and Buzz do the real moonwalk.

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