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SpaceX Shows Off 7-Man Dragon V2 Capsule

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the yes-please dept.

Space 140

As promised, SpaceX has unveiled its design for a 7-passenger space capsule, intended for carrying astronauts to the International Station or other missions. Writes the L.A. Times: "SpaceX's Dragon V2 spacecraft looks like a sleek, modern-day version of the Apollo capsules that astronauts used in trips to the moon in the 1960s. Those capsules splashed down in the ocean and couldn't be reused. SpaceX builds its Dragon capsules and Falcon 9 rockets in a vast complex in Hawthorne, where fuselage sections for Boeing's 747 jumbo jets once were built. The company is expanding its complex, near Los Angeles International Airport, and has more than 3,000 employees."

NBC News offers more pictures and description of what conditions aboard the Dragon would be like, while astronaut Chris Hadfield says that for all its good points, the Dragon won't eliminate the need for international cooperation in space: "The United States cannot fly to the Space Station without Russia, and Russia can't fly to the Space Station without the United States. It's a wonderful thing to have. If you look at the whole life of the Space Station, think of all the tumult, with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the devaluation of the Ruble in 1998, and other countries backing out of it, the Columbia accident, which would have left us completely helpless if we hadn't had the international commitment. It's easy to have a one-month attention span, but that's just not how you build spaceships, or how you explore the rest of the universe."

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What else is needed (4, Insightful)

saloomy (2817221) | about 5 months ago | (#47137905)

That spacex doesn't provide to ferry humans up to the IIS? Why do they still need the Russians to get up there?

Re:What else is needed (2)

UK Boz (755972) | about 5 months ago | (#47138049)

Until NASA has examined every rivet it wont be going anywhere with people.

1960s? (4, Informative)

chfriley (160627) | about 5 months ago | (#47138561)

"astronauts used in trips to the moon in the 1960s."

Just one point about the summary, not just the 1960s, there were more trips to the moon using Apollo in the 1970s than in the 1960s:
1960s Apollo moon trips: 8, 10, 11, 12 (2 landings 11, 12, and 2 circumnavigations)

1970s: 13, 14, 15, 16,17 (4 landings, not Apollo 13 obviously)

(There were other Apollo missions that were not moon trips, 7, 9 for example that were in earth orbit, Apollo-Soyuz etc).

Re:1960s? (-1, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47139129)

So, we sent what, ten ships to the moon forty years ago and we're supposed to make like SpaceX is doing something remarkable for showing a prototype of something that might someday take somebody into space?

Way to go, private sector. Next, they'll start work on a web-like network that allows people to send data and pictures worldwide. The plan is to have it ready by 2025.

Re:1960s? (2)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about 5 months ago | (#47139163)

I don't recall Apollo capsules carrying seven or being able to land propulsively exactly where you want them to.

Re:1960s? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47140345)

I don't recall Apollo capsules carrying seven or being able to land propulsively exactly where you want them to.

But it was over 40 years ago. Back then, you had gas-powered computers you had to start with a pull-cord.

Plus, let's be fair, this SpaceX capsule hasn't taken anyone anywhere yet.

Re:1960s? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47140973)

If you are going to make a proper analogy, you might have suggested that the Apollo Guidance Computer used hand-soldered discrete transistors for its CPU, but that isn't even true (even though that was the case for the Gemini spacecraft..... Mercury even used vacuum tubes for some of its guidance systems). The AGC did employ some of the very first integrated circuits in its design, but those were simple gate chips like the 7200 series and the engineers did consider discrete transistors as the difference wasn't all that much both in terms of weight as well as board complexity. The power system for Apollo was instead a fuel cell.... a very new technology at the time and quite remarkable that it worked as well as it did.

At least try to get it accurate. I do get what you are trying to suggest here though, and it is amazing at how much progress things like guidance computers have made. At least the pilots of the Dragon capsule don't need to try and interpret a 7-segment LED display full of numbers and memorize error codes to simply know what the guidance computer is complaining about.

Re:1960s? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47140929)

I don't recall Apollo capsules carrying seven or being able to land propulsively exactly where you want them to.

There was a proposed "Apollo II" vehicle that was to carry seven passengers. Had the Saturn V been continued as a spacecraft instead of dumping that vehicle + the Apollo spacecraft system and to push that through 40 years of incremental engineering development cycles, seven passengers in Apollo would certainly seem reasonable. NASA and the American effort for crewed spaceflight simply didn't go that route.

The propulsive landing system is something new to Dragon though. Soyuz just used some very excellent shock absorbers + parachute and Apollo simply relied upon landing in the ocean to cushion the final velocity that the parachute system couldn't stop.

Re: 1960s? (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 months ago | (#47139175)

The interesting thing is NOT that 4 companies are building access to space. The interesting thing is that space is doing it for a fraction of what gov does. For example, Russia charges 70 million / seat. But spaceX will charge 20 million. In addition, once f9r and dragon rider are landing on land, then cost will drop to 10-15 million . IOW, private space is making the moon and mars possible.

Re: 1960s? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47140377)

For example, Russia charges 70 million / seat. But spaceX will charge 20 million.

Yeah, it's gonna be cheaper. All the basic research has been done for them. They take some blueprints from NASA and put some new sheet metal so they look more like a 2014 Lexus than a 1968 Chevelle, and there you go.

I'm just surprised that it's going on half a century after the moon landing and "private industry" is just now barely getting off the ground.

John Galt is a lazy bastard. And even now, he's still using government money to get it done. So he's a welfare queen, too.

Re: 1960s? (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 months ago | (#47140847)

So, spaceX is a welfare queen. Hmmm.
We have invested less than 1B into SpaceX via COTS. In return, America now has a launch system that is the cheapest in the world. In addition, the company now employes 3000+ ppl, and will launch the Falcon heavy in less than 12 months, and it will be the worlds largest biggest launcher (again, the cheapest).
Now, we have invested less than .5B into them for a human launcher. Note that we have already paid Russia over 1.5B to Launch to the ISS, and for the next 2 years, will pay more than .5B. IOW, we are funding Russia's space launches, while ppl like you scream that we are spending too much on our own private companies.

Finally, as to innovation, you are right that they were not innovative. However, they are the now the first group that has ever successfully brought down a stage to the earth without it being destroyed (the ocean destroyed it AFTER it 'landed'). The Dragon is loaded with a number of new innovations that go well beyond anything ever done. At this time, SpaceX is ahead of the game and now rates as one of the most innovative space groups going.

And you will note that NONE of that includes raptor or MCT, or the X-over on FH.

Re: 1960s? (1)

rmccoy (318169) | about 5 months ago | (#47141015)

If only I had Mod points.

Excellent rebuttal!

Re:1960s? (2)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 5 months ago | (#47139627)

I think you think you have a point. This is so utterly underwhelming, even with all the stuff V2 does that Apollo could never do, SpaceX might as well pack up and sell its assets and forget ever trying to improve space technology. Amiright?

Why even bother when there are so many haters and anti-progressers out there? Maybe we should all just give up on space completely because its not cool enough for you.

Whatever.

Re:1960s? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47140401)

SpaceX might as well pack up and sell its assets and forget ever trying to improve space technology. Amiright?

That's ridiculous. Of course they should be improving space technology. But let's not give any participation awards, OK? Let's not pretend that it's some big deal that "private industry" is all of a sudden getting in the game.

I'll be impressed when they do something that's not getting paid for by the government. Go mine an asteroid. Put up your own space station. Stop sucking off the taxpayer's teat and then acting like you've invented the electrostatic engine.

Re:1960s? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47139857)

It was the private sector back then too for a lot of stuff - for example Grumman built the lander.

Re:1960s? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47141001)

It was the private sector back then too for a lot of stuff - for example Grumman built the lander.

.... on a cost-plus contract where the government took any financial risk in developing the vehicle, and whose only customer was the U.S. government.

That is sort of the difference here, where SpaceX is taking a financial risk themselves (in spite of some subsidies) as any cost-overruns are paid by SpaceX & its shareholders and not the taxpayer. Furthermore, SpaceX is definitely trying to sell this vehicle to customers other than the U.S. Government. Bigelow Aerospace happens to be one of their early customers and they also plan on selling rides to Space Adventures too.

Re:1960s? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47141033)

Bigelow Aerospace are not paying yet - so who are the other real customers for SpaceX?
Also back in the day Grumman had other customers for other projects.

Re:1960s? (3, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47139131)

You also can't ignore the Skylab 2, 3, & 4 missions that all used Apollo hardware as well as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (something that arguably paved the way for the ISS in terms of cooperation between the Soviet Space Agency and NASA). All of those missions also flew in the 1970's.

It is a pity that the manned mission to Venus never happened, which was also supposed to use Apollo hardware and something very similar to Skylab for extended mission resources. It could have happened for the price of a single shuttle mission too.

Re:1960s? (0)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 5 months ago | (#47139601)

Why do people perpetuate this myth?

I heard that a large portion of the US population doesnt believe people went to the moon, and who am I to disagree with the fine citizens of the greatest nation in the history of mankind, the leaders of the Free World, the land of the Free with Liberty and Justice for All.

Who. Am. I. To. Disagree.

Re:What else is needed (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#47138989)

Obviously that process has been under way for over a year. I would be surprised if they didn't launch it with crash test dummies and also real cargo sometime this summer. Going to ISS and back to rocket landing.

Re:What else is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138067)

The message passed whooshing over your head. While group X and group Y don't get along, the reality is those groups are arbitrary, and only a small subgroup of each take advantage of the grouping. You, elements of the groups (willingly or not), just get screwed over.

Stop groupthinking.

Re:What else is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138243)

If some issue occurs with the Dragon, it would be nice to have a means of getting people into orbit that was independently engineered.

Re:What else is needed (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 months ago | (#47138647)

If some issue occurs with the Dragon, it would be nice to have a means of getting people into orbit that was independently engineered.

Thats where the other also runners come in, Orion, Dreamchaser, et al. If a NASA inspector downchecks a Dragon 2, somebody will be able to fly out. Once these all come online, we really won't need Roskosmos.

What else is needed... Rocket engines (5, Insightful)

Flytrap (939609) | about 5 months ago | (#47138325)

Maybe the small matter of getting the thing into space using a rocket engine is why they still need the Russians.

The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians... and the US buys several a year to launch its biggest payloads into space (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-military-national-security-agencies-vexed-by-dependence-on-russian-rocket-engines/2014/05/30/19822e40-e6c0-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html)

SpaceX is developing some pretty powerful launchers, but until they can match the power and reliability of the Russian RD-180, I don't think that NASA or the Pentagon (who are the biggest buyers of the RD-180) will be turning their backs on Russian engines.

From the linked article: "Long-term U.S. plans to produce a domestic cousin to the RD-180 never got off the ground. The aerospace sector discovered that it was comfortable with the workhorse Russian engines when it came time to launch sensitive missions like spy satellites. The Atlas V rocket has made more than 50 consecutive successful launches using the RD-180. NASA and other government agencies rely on the Atlas V for some of their scientific payloads."

I have no doubt that the Dragon capsule will live up to its billing... So far, Elon Musk and SpaceX exceeded expectations on virtually everything. But, until then, the rickety, but dependable Russian Soyuz will continue to be the preferred choice of most astronauts for getting to and from the space station.

However, the real reasons that astronauts like Chris Hadfield et al think that the Russian Soyuz will be hard to replace are hard to fit into a single post.

  • Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).
  • Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).
  • There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none. It will take a lot more than a larger tin-can and a more comfortable ride to convince astronauts to put their lives in SpaceX's hands.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138409)

They're on it. [www.murc.ws]

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (2)

ausoleil (322752) | about 5 months ago | (#47138473)

The only problem with that 2009 article is that Dragon Heavy still hasn't been built, tested or flown and is behind schedule. SpaceX had planned to launch it last year, then this year, and now their launch manifest shows 2015 but is expected to slip further. They had reported cross-flow problems with the two outer boosters in 2013, but have not said much about it since.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47139159)

The only problem with that 2009 article is that Dragon Heavy still hasn't been built, tested or flown and is behind schedule.

Tested or flown perhaps, but the hardware for the Falcon Heavy (not the "Dragon Heavy") is most definitely built. Pad work has been done at Vandenberg AFB and the test stand for testing the 27 Merlin-1 engines simultaneously is under construction at the McGregor testing facility. That is perhaps the next piece of big news which is going to come from SpaceX when those engines fire on that test stand (something that will be hard to hide from any of the residents of Waco, Texas).

The first flights are not expected to be using the cross-feed system, which is going to cut performance but can still test the overall design and concept.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138603)

Larger tin can seriously? Show some respect It's more like an Instant Cup Noodles.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (5, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 months ago | (#47138673)

However, the real reasons that astronauts like Chris Hadfield et al think that the Russian Soyuz will be hard to replace are hard to fit into a single post.

  • Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).
  • Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).
  • There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none. It will take a lot more than a larger tin-can and a more comfortable ride to convince astronauts to put their lives in SpaceX's hands.

OK, keep in mind orbital parameters. The ISS's orbit was specifically placed the way it was to allow the Russians to get to it with ease. It's on a steep incline that takes orbital corrections to manuver to from any other launch site than Baikanour. It passes directly over Canaveral occasionally, but the delta-v required to do a one shot insertion orbit to ISS from Canaveral is expensive. That's why the Shuttle was downrated for ISS missions in payload and duration.

Shuttle was also a hell of a lot more complicated than a Soyuz capsule. It's like comparing a Prius to a Model T. Soyuz was designed for no-frills get them to orbit. Shuttle was designed to get a shitpile of cargo to orbit along with the crew and the gear to operate independently of anything once there. Think of it more like a spacegoing Winnebago.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (2)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 5 months ago | (#47139281)

"The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians..." -- the Russian RD-180 is a powerful and advanced engine, the best in it's current class of kerosene burners, BUT this has nothing to do with the ISS. No one is using an RD-180 powered rocket for either manned or unmanned access to the ISS. The only current launch vehicle using the RD-180 is the US Atlas V (according to my quick Internet research) which is not going to the ISS. And the all-American Delta IV can launch as much or more payload than the Atlas V, though it costs somewhat more, so it appears that the RD-180 is in use only because it is cheaper than the alternatives for now. The US is currently considering moving Atlas V payloads to the Delta IV due to RD-180 supply disruptions (http://aviationweek.com/space/ula-explores-shifting-atlas-v-launches-delta-iv).
I can't refute your argument about the merits of the Soyuz vehicle for the ISS,though, it is essential for the foreseeable future.
But Russian rocket engines are a convenience, not a necessity. And speaking of large Russian boosters, their equivalent to the Atlas and Delta, the Proton, has not done so well lately, with two failures in the last year, most recently just this month (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/16/world/europe/russia-rocket-accident/).

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#47140225)

The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians

Hmmm...

RD-180 - 860,568lbf at S/L, a bit more in vacuum.

F-1 - 1522000 lbf at S/L.

Yeah, we're not making F-1 anymore. Which I understand is a side-effect of Shuttle - the capability to build more Saturns was deliberately eliminated so that there'd be no talk of an alternative to Shuttle....

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#47140731)

RD-171 has similar performance to the F-1 engine and is still used in Zenit. RD-180 is an RD-170 engine cut in half basically.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 5 months ago | (#47140427)

Maybe the small matter of getting the thing into space using a rocket engine is why they still need the Russians.

Uh? SpaceX build all their engines in-house.

Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).

That's a human consumables issue. Nobody is living in those Soyuz during that time.
They never tried something like this with the Shuttle, but just docking an empty one for
a couple of months would probably have worked too. A Shuttle landing never required
a maintenance crew (although, in hindsight, this would've been nice. The known problems
were still all launch issues though).

Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).

That's a very recent development. It has been used how often now, three, four times?
And of those times, it failed once, falling back to the traditional 3-4 day approach.
Also, it only works because the ISS's orbit has been altered to accomodate this approach mode.
And there's no reason precluding Dragon from doing the same.

There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none.

It has a very, very impressive track record. Matching this will - by definition - take time and many flights.
But I don't see any capability making Soyuz inherently superior to the alternatives in development.
However, it is about to lose big on price, which is a big one.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

qaz123 (2841887) | about 5 months ago | (#47140781)

And of those times, it failed once, falling back to the traditional 3-4 day approach.

2 days actually

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 5 months ago | (#47140951)

Oh, yeah: 25 March 2014 21:17:23 UTC – 27 March 2014 23:53 UTC [wikipedia.org]

The improved orbital geometry might make the long way around shorter as well.
Or, as it was only a "late failure", part of the shortcut was taken already.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#47140805)

Is it a human consumables issue?

When I read the comment my mind jumped to harsh conditions of space. Having all of the components work flawless for a few weeks is one thing, a few months is another thing.

FP? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47137907)

Did I really?

Re:FP? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47138257)

Fail Post?

What else is needed (0)

saloomy (2817221) | about 5 months ago | (#47137909)

To get people to the ISS that spaxeX cannot provide?

A reliable vehicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138641)

That is something SpaceX has failed to provide.

So far, not one single flight has being completed with major failures and to this they, not one single capsule has actually landed safely.

SpaceX is light years away from having a man-rated spacecraft.

Re:A reliable vehicle (1)

waimate (147056) | about 5 months ago | (#47139895)

Hey! Illegible, ill-informed and incorrect. Nice trifecta

Slashdot shows off Beta fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47137929)

Critics agree: It sucks a big old dick.
 
Boycott Dice!

But... but... (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47138007)

You know, international cooperation can be a wonderful and mutually-rewarding thing.

But relying on it, or even worse: having to rely on it, for space exploration (which has strategic value) is not just not smart but kind of insane.

It's kind of like when the military was buying chips from China:, a little bit crazy, and a lot stupid.

But that's Government for you.

Re:But... but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138099)

You epitomize the kind of thinking that keeps us going to war.

You idiot.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138131)

Baaaaa. Baaaaa.

Re:But... but... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 months ago | (#47138701)

You know, international cooperation can be a wonderful and mutually-rewarding thing.

But relying on it, or even worse: having to rely on it, for space exploration (which has strategic value) is not just not smart but kind of insane.

It's kind of like when the military was buying chips from China:, a little bit crazy, and a lot stupid.

You epitomize the kind of thinking that keeps us going to war.

You idiot.

Not really. Jane nailed it in one this time. Single-sourcing and then outsourcing your military hardware to a potential enemy is not a good idea. And even civilian gear can have military applications. If your potential enemy becomes a real enemy, you're VSF. Look at Russia. Indifferent to them before WW1 and afterwards, allies in WW2, then enemies during the long Cold War, followed by mutual friendship for a few years til Putin decided to annex most of Ukraine. Now we're pissed off at them again and they're pissed off at us. National positions change. Outsourcing your parts is not a good idea.

Re:But... but... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47139883)

Some extremely surreal moments occurred in WWII on that note with things like Vickers refusing to let other companies build some parts because that would violate an IP deal with a German company - which resulted in the only factory in the UK making those parts was bombed by German bombers with the same parts.
However we are talking about a civilian case and the nature of space travel means you need a LOT of international co-operation just to be able to talk to people/instruments in space 24/7. NASA employs or funds quite a lot of people outside of the USA and not all of them are US citizens.

Re:But... but... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 months ago | (#47140163)

Dude, you fail simultaneously at history and at geography.
First, there was no indifference before WW1 and afterwards.
Here [wikipedia.org] is one of the reasons why USSR has mistrusted USA since the beginning. And here [wikipedia.org] is why the distrust was mutual.

Here [wikipedia.org] is how the mutual friendship looked like.
And here [www.issa.nl] is a map of Ukraine. The red peninsula in the southeast is Crimea. No matter how you look, it isn't even close to be "most of Ukraine".

Re:But... but... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#47140887)

They are working on getting more of it like the so called 'Republic of Donetsk'.

Re:But... but... (0, Flamebait)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#47138201)

ISS wasn't about international cooperation. It was a jobs program to keep Russian engineers from offering their services to various middle east states awash in oil money.

Re:But... but... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#47139001)

Although this is nodded flamebait, there is a certain amount of truth to it.

Re:But... but... (2)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 5 months ago | (#47138429)

The US isn't "relying" on anyone for space exploration. The US has plenty of its own rockets. It's merely relying on Russia for launching astronauts as an interim solution until the ISS project ends or a commercial company comes up with a manned vehicle.

When it would cost you $1000 to buy a car, and your neighbor lets you rent his car for $10/day, and you only need a car for a few days, it would be a good idea to use his car. And if he has the tendency of being treacherous, well, then you can buy your own car if he misbehaves. And if he misbehaves really badly, then you can go and pick a fight with him. But as long as he behaves, what's the problem?

Your attitude is similar to the people who hole themselves up, buy a thousand guns, and never emerge from their house because they think everyone is out to get them. In the real world, international cooperation happens all the time, even between enemies (which the US and Russia aren't, at least not at the level of the cold war anymore). it's not just that international cooperation is good. It's that international cooperation is _necessary_ to actually get stuff done. Cooperating with Russia and other countries allows the ISS project to spread risk and costs around in an optimal way, with the subtext being that if any nation doesn't hold up its share of the deal, the deal is null.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47139011)

Could you explain what exactly is being "explored" here?

Re:But... but... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47139253)

The US isn't "relying" on anyone for space exploration. The US has plenty of its own rockets. It's merely relying on Russia for launching astronauts as an interim solution until the ISS project ends or a commercial company comes up with a manned vehicle.

You contradict yourself in the first 2 sentences.

(1) The ISS is "space exploration". Or research, at any rate, as part of our space exploration program.

(2) The U.S. does not have "plenty" of manned rockets. It is RELYING on Russian rockets -- and when it's not Russian rockets, it's Russian engines -- to re-supply and man the ISS.

(3) The whole reason we're doing that is that we DON'T have plenty of our own rockets, especially of the manned variety. Or engines for the rockets we do have. We have been buying them from Russia. We've been short of manned space capability ever since the Shuttles were shut down.

When it would cost you $1000 to buy a car, and your neighbor lets you rent his car for $10/day, and you only need a car for a few days, it would be a good idea to use his car. And if he has the tendency of being treacherous, well, then you can buy your own car if he misbehaves. And if he misbehaves really badly, then you can go and pick a fight with him. But as long as he behaves, what's the problem?

No, it's not the same. That's a BS analogy. Here is one that is closer to the actual situation:

You're cautiously friends with your neighbor. But you're both competing for the same job (not meant as a direct analogy to ISS, but space exploration in general). You both need need to get to work every day, but your "cars" are not re-usable. You used to have some cars that were re-usable to some degree. But your neighbor never did. But your re-usable cars are worn out or blew up, and you didn't have the foresight to plan ahead to make more. You *DID* have enough money to do it, but instead you CHOSE to spend your money bailing out your too-much-richer-than-you-to-fail neighbor in his mansion, giving it away to phony "clean energy" companies so their CEOs could get rich, just plain giving lots of it away to other neighbors, and lots of other outrageously stupid sh*t.

So now you're in a bind: you and your neighbor are both trying to get that executive position at work, but now you have to bum a ride from your neighbor, or buy a bunch of his one-shot cars (which he sells to you at a profit) if you want to get there every day. So... you bite the bullet and do it because through lack of adequate planning you left yourself with no alternative.

Uh-oh. Now your neighbor controls your only way to get to work, and he still wants the same position you do. And he did something really dumb, so now you're in a big argument. He gets mad... and you no longer have transportation.

Sure... you know that you can be building new and better -- and even re-usable again -- cars in about 2 years, but in the meantime, your neighbor has taken the good job, and you are playing catch-up again.

Your attitude is similar to the people who hole themselves up, buy a thousand guns, and never emerge from their house because they think everyone is out to get them.

Not even close. My attitude is one of somebody who has a neighbor who is known to be aggressively underhanded and doesn't respect rights. And who knows that under those circumstances it's not very bright to say "Here, hold my keys and my guns while I go on vacation."

Re:But... but... (1)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 5 months ago | (#47139527)

Whoa, slow down there. You suddenly jumped from a discussion about space hardware to fucking federal budget planning and bank bailouts. One thing at a time.

The shuttle was a huge boondoggle that cost $1bn (a conservative estimate) to send up astronauts in an aging, unreliable death trap that had completely blown up on 2 out of 131 missions. Don't get me wrong; it was a great piece of hardware for its time, and the engineers who designed it in the 70's should be commended. Especially, the shuttle main engines are a fine example of the quality of American engineering. But there was no justification in keeping the shuttle. Cancelling it was a wise and prudent decision, probably the best decision in the space program since 1969. Just for reference, all of SpaceX's achievements to date have been done with less money than a single shuttle launch.

Of course with the shuttle out of the picture, there was the question of what to use to send astronauts up there. You could either 1) double NASA's budget and ask it to crash-design (excuse the pun) a new manned vehicle in a couple of years. Too costly and risky. 2) Pour money into private companies to do the same. The public would never go for it, and it would also be too risky. 3) Cancel the shuttle program and divert the leftover funds to private companies to design a new manned vehicle, and in the meanwhile send up astronauts (as part of ISS obligations) with Russian rockets. That's the most reasonable choice, and exactly what they did. Has the US government made a lot of bad decisions with regard to space? Absolutely; a LOT of bad decisions. But cancelling the shuttle and piggybacking on Russia wasn't one of them.

Is it true that the US did not develop manned flight capability when it should have? Absolutely, but that was directly BECAUSE of the shuttle program. The shuttle siphoned off all manned space travel funds, leaving nothing to develop a new vehicle. The shuttle HAD to be cancelled to start developing new manned spaceflight ability. If you want to start pointing fingers, fine, but point them at the people who greenlighted the shuttle in the 70's, not the politicians who made the wise decision to cancel it in the 2000's.

Re:But... but... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47139607)

The shuttle was a huge boondoggle that cost $1bn (a conservative estimate) to send up astronauts in an aging, unreliable death trap that had completely blown up on 2 out of 131 missions.

That was MY point.

But there was no justification in keeping the shuttle. Cancelling it was a wise and prudent decision, probably the best decision in the space program since 1969. Just for reference, all of SpaceX's achievements to date have been done with less money than a single shuttle launch.

Cancelling it WHEN THERE WAS A REPLACEMENT AVAILABLE would have been a wise decision. Cancelling it before a replacement was just plain stupid. Now... don't get me wrong here: yes, it was old and worn out and too expensive. My point wasn't that it didn't need to be cancelled, but that a replacement should have been designed and flying before then.

You could either 1) double NASA's budget and ask it to crash-design (excuse the pun) a new manned vehicle in a couple of years. Too costly and risky. 2) Pour money into private companies to do the same. The public would never go for it, and it would also be too risky. 3) Cancel the shuttle program and divert the leftover funds to private companies to design a new manned vehicle, and in the meanwhile send up astronauts (as part of ISS obligations) with Russian rockets.

This is just laughable. First, actually, the public has been behind a larger space budget for many years. And doing it right wouldn't have been in 2 years. THAT WAS MY POINT. A replacement should have been started far earlier than that. Failure to do so was just plain poor, short-sighted planning.

Second, your point (2): it's funny, because after government and NASA failed to get your #1 in action, what they actually did was #2. And a "private" company has been doing it BETTER than NASA, and CHEAPER than NASA, and FASTER than NASA, and the public loves it.

And finally, your point (3) is not a separate option because it's actually what they were stuck with after they failed at (1) and (2) was under way.

You're arguing against yourself, man. Give it up.

Re:But... but... (1)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 5 months ago | (#47139721)

> First, actually, the public has been behind a larger space budget for many years

Uhm, where the fuck do you get this idea? Public opinion polls about NASA's budget have always been pretty much on the 'undecided' end, and increasing NASA's budget has never had overwhelming support except for in the 60's. Besides, what people say in an opinion poll is not indicative of what they actually want. When it comes time to actually vote for their representatives, the tendency has been to vote against representatives who want to expand the space program, except for in 'space districts' like in Florida. But please, continue with your reality distortion, it will really help you figure out what went wrong.

> A replacement should have been started far earlier than that. Failure to do so was just plain poor, short-sighted planning.

No. Plenty of people called for a replacement, and many even had working designs. NASA couldn't fund them because its budget was limited and all of it was spent on the shuttle and NASA. Again, you fail to understand my point.

If you actually read my point 2, I specifically used the word 'the same' i.e. a crash development program alongside the shuttle. Reading comprehension sometimes comes in handy.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47139605)

Yes, but would you start a war with someone who you are cooperating with in that many ways? It's good to maintain peace between countries.

Re:But... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47139629)

Well I just go down to the local Fish & Chip shop, I see no point in going to another country to buy chips, especially as I live in New Zealand!

Re:But... but... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47139875)

It's like having to buy oil from Saudi Arabia.
Sucks but the alternatives are worse.

Yes, Russia and USA. Two brothers in love (2)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 5 months ago | (#47138019)

Let's not forget about close cooperation between American oligarchs and their Russian brothers. They absolutely don't care where their jets are the moment. It's all about power over nations. Having couple hundreds millions sheeps at disposal gives them warm feeling.

Wow! (1)

jwgreene (2906395) | about 5 months ago | (#47138027)

I didn’t think I would ever say this, but Chris Hadfield is entirely wrong. Cooperation is a wonderful thing, yes, but I tend to look at it a little more pragmatically: The Russians could easily refuse to carry non-Russian astronauts to and from the space station for whatever reason, marooning anyone already in orbit. They have clearly shown they have no problem breaking agreements when it suits them. Why can’t we see SpaceX as another entity that NASA can cooperate with to carry astronauts to and from the ISS? And we don’t need to worry about SpaceX refusing service, unless they stop paying their bills. the US certainly can fly to the ISS without Russia. And as more private corporations go into the space business, national entities will become less and less important, beyond funding. I like this idea. I would think Chris Hadfield would as well, since SpaceX is looking to do things safely and profitably... hopefully bringing the cost per pound to get things to orbit down at the same time.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138059)

"I didn’t think I would ever say this, but Chris Hadfield is entirely wrong. "

And why didn't you think this? Just because he's a test pilot in diapers? He's just a stuntman for a political PR firm. Get over it.

Re:Wow! (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 5 months ago | (#47138423)

They have clearly shown they have no problem breaking agreements when it suits them.

Well, based on what I've seen in my time on this plant, The Russian Government, The EU, and the US governments break agreements, violate sovereignty and meddle in the affairs of other smaller nations as much as they want. It is one of the perks of being a top-dog in the world.

However those are governments, you will generally find that people on all sides are more the less the same. They have fun, get laid, party, and have dreams and goals of their own.

As such, just because the governments do nasty shit, doesn't mean that you should not co-operate where there are mutually aligning goals. That is one of the fundamental tenants of diplomacy.

If the human race as a whole does not co-operate in space, the alternative is to compete, which could well cause more problems in future.

Besides, as long as the US pays for the engines, they will get them. Communism is gone, currency is the new ideology. Likewise for trips to the ISS, as long as the US is willing to pay, they will get a seat there. What may be influenced by the geopolitical situation is the price for future seats though.

Not to say that having two suppliers for a job is a bad idea, that is just good business. Otherwise your only supplier can lock you in :o)

Re:Wow! (1)

waimate (147056) | about 5 months ago | (#47139903)

Well, based on what I've seen in my time on this plant ...

You're living on a plant ??

My god, this place is bugged !!

PR (2)

harperska (1376103) | about 5 months ago | (#47138041)

Hadfield is a NASA PR guy (as well as an astronaut), so he is obligated to say all of the political talking points. Even though Dragon will remove US dependence on Soyuz for all LEO astronaut needs, that won't be for a couple of years yet, and in the mean time we can't afford to piss the Russians off to much lest they say 'nyet' and screw us out of access to the ISS before then. Note that he also was sure to cover the talking point of how awesome the Shuttle was. NASA is politically obligated to not admit it sucked even though the shuttle program was cancelled simply because it was a sucky boondoggle, because their funding comes from congresscritters whose constituencies greatly benefited from the shuttle's existence.

Re:PR (-1, Flamebait)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47138085)

because their funding comes from congresscritters whose constituencies greatly benefited from the shuttle's existence

And remember, one such congresscritter killed seven astronauts.

Re:PR (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47140551)

Wow, people from Utah [wikipedia.org] got mod points!

Re:PR (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138157)

The Shuttle was awesome. Just not from a cost or safety perspective. It had a freakin' robotic arm in the payload bay and pretty decent upmass to LEO.

The Russians own half the modules on the ISS, and they've threatened to detach them from the ISS after 2020; the ISS won't function without both the Russian and American modules. Not much good being able to fly to a non-functional station.

Given the state of our space program and space program funding, it would probably take another 15 years and hundreds of billions of dollars to build a new space station to replace the ISS -- whether it's in 2020 (the current termination date) or 2024 (the proposed extension date).

Re:PR (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 months ago | (#47138729)

The Shuttle was awesome. Just not from a cost or safety perspective. It had a freakin' robotic arm in the payload bay and pretty decent upmass to LEO.

The Russians own half the modules on the ISS, and they've threatened to detach them from the ISS after 2020; the ISS won't function without both the Russian and American modules. Not much good being able to fly to a non-functional station.

Given the state of our space program and space program funding, it would probably take another 15 years and hundreds of billions of dollars to build a new space station to replace the ISS -- whether it's in 2020 (the current termination date) or 2024 (the proposed extension date).

Some heavy lifting capability, the US can launch replacement modules. Hell, we can put them in an orbit that makes SENSE if we don't have to worry about the Russians being able to get to it from Baikanour.

Re:PR (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47139235)

The down mass capabilities of the Shuttle have not been replaced nor is it anticipated that it will ever be replaced within this century. That is one thing which the retirement of the Space Shuttle definitely hurt.

Re:PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47140641)

Really? You have a magical crystal ball and can foresee eighty-five years of spacecraft development? It's not beyond the wit of man to launch a large inflatable aeroshell on a Falcon Heavy, for instance.

Also, Skylon.

Re:PR (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 5 months ago | (#47140873)

I said anticipated . That means there is absolutely nothing being considered by any country or any organization which has the actual capability of sending stuff into space that is going to replace this aspect of the Space Shuttle. I'm not saying that it won't ever happen.

And no, a big inflatable aeroshell on the Falcon Heavy could do the same job either, but nice try. Besides, nobody is actually planning such a cumbersome device that has no precedence in human spaceflight. Not saying it couldn't be done, but it isn't being done nor being considered. If you have some crystal ball or better yet some actual hard source of information stating that such a device or spacecraft is being considered, I'd really like to know about it. Seriously, I would.

Re:PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47140683)

Teancum's opinions need to be taken with a grain of salt.
As one of Elon's gay sex bitches (along with WindyBourne, CrimsonAsshole, JammedStar7, Macpachepoked...), he's fixated with down mass of male ejaculants down his throat.

Re:PR (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 5 months ago | (#47138821)

The Russians own half the modules on the ISS.

It's more like 5 out of 17. And one of those (Zarya) was bought with US funds. A real shame that functions of Zvezda aren't redundant, though..

Re:PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138899)

A real shame that functions of Zvezda aren't redundant, though..

"May the Light of Zvezda Shine Throughout This World!!"

Re:PR (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 5 months ago | (#47140923)

" simply because it was a sucky boondoggle"

The question is was it a sucky boondoggle for technical reasons, or political reasons. Technically the shuttle had a lot going for it, pretty hefty re-usability, high performance, major cargo capacity up and down. I think its major issues came from the political side rather than a fundamental issue with the technology. Funneling massive amounts of money to various constituencies, relying on defense contractors & no bid contracts. With some relatively minor design changes, an open and fair bidding/contract process & treating the shuttle more like a transportation system and less like a "can't fail" program to which you could attach your every pork project it could have become a VERY successful launch system. Instead we now have SLS, estimate to be greater than $4 billion per launch, even more than the shuttle, with the same contractors that made the shuttle program so expensive so expect those numbers to climb. This coming on the heals of the failed Constellation program, $11 Billion down the drain for one PR launch of a "spacecraft demonstrator" cobbled together from various pieces of old spacecraft hardware.

Shit just got real (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138063)

After the last incident at the gym when I was abandoned for this skinny prostitute, I was less than enthused about ever setting foot back into that shithole, let alone allow Jim go back there where all those hookers in spandex parade their steroid-flooded bodies around.

I feel hurt, judged, and degraded that Jim would even try to convince me to go with him. I know that I asked to go with him just to see who these girls were on his phone, but he should have stopped me. He should had said I was beautiful the way I was and he didn't want me to change. It honestly disgusted me when he said "ok."

I didn't go for a couple days, but then Jim asked me why I wasn't going anymore. I said I don't need the gym, but I guess an insecure part of me can't get over his apparent skinny-girl fetish so I went. I felt pressured to do it.

So we go to the gym together and I'm sitting on my exercise bike watching Jim talk to that Sarah Lynn girl again, and it occurred to me how deeply I was being taken advantage of when he turned and walked across the room to me to say "What about her?" Baffled, I said "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?" I could feel my cheeks begin to burn.It was awful and embarrassing. He looked at me confused and said that I said he could have sex with whoever he wanted. I remember that i did tell him that, but I didn't expect him to start pointing women out to me immediately or at all.. like he's rubbing it in my face. I don't understand why he's choosing women so different from myself. This wouldn't be so devastating and difficult if he would just get with normal sized women.

I told him fine, do whatever you want. He then abandoned me once more to go to her and help her workout. I watched him put his hand on her shoulder and help with her posture whilst she lifted weights. They both stared into a mirror like a couple of narcissists. It repulsed me to no end, I thought I would puke.

After an hour of fast and slow "interval" with my heart at maximum capacity cycling and trying not to care about what Jim was doing with this skank, I decided I was never ever coming back to the gym again. I got up and began walking toward the exit. I noticed that Jim and Sarah began walking toward the exit as well. I heard him say "Oh no, just skip the shower and come over to my place. We'll talk and eat and I'll show you these supplements I have, and you know whatever you need." My heart began to race. My world began to spin, I became light-headed and almost passed out before getting to the car. I began to dry heave and hyperventilate. I don't believe Jim cared in the slightest about my well-being. I remember Sarah asking if I was going to be okay, and Jim said "yeah, she's just not used to working out." and Sarah laughed. I got in the backseat and watched his hand wander to her thighs. I began to sweat, and I wanted to die. There was nothing I could do to stop this, I had given him the green light. If anything, I am to blame for how I felt in that moment. I am to blame for my near-death experience, almost dying of a broken heart. My outlook on this relationship changed in that instant.

We arrived back at my place and they both got out of the car, completely disregarding my presence. I was left unacknowledged and alone in the backseat of Jim's car. I managed to get out despite how sore and swollen my legs were. I got into the house to see that Jim and Sarah had already sat down together very closely on the couch. I stared at them both defeated. Sarah stared back almost questioning why I was hanging around, and Jim continued to ignore me as if I was a nobody. Jim was kissing on her neck and feeling her body, and I continued to watch them with disbelief. I think I was in shock. Sarah broke her glance from me and began to return Jim's advances. I walked to the couch and turned the TV on. Jim got up annoyed and walked toward the kitchen with her. They began to kiss in there now. I pretended to flip through the channels, glancing up periodically to see what they were doing. I kept catching Sarah looking at me. Then Sarah said "Why is she just sitting there? I think she's trying to watch, and I don't like it." Jim shot me an annoyed glare and then asked her if she wanted to take it upstairs. I heard him say "she's not all there, just ignore her." and Sarah was laughing. They then ran upstairs like a couple of teenage sluts. I stormed up the stairs after them. NOBODY talks shit about me in MY own home. I was much slower getting up there, so they had already slammed the door before I was able to reach the top. I swung it open to see Sarah straddling Jim shirtless, and his pants down around his ankles. I've never seen such a disgusting sight in my life.

I screamed angrily at her "You know that's my boyfriend right?!" She stared at me amused like she didn't know what to think. Jim began to giggle nervously and said "she's crazy baby, ignore her."

I stormed forward. "NO!" I shouted. That is MY boyfriend, He wants to fuck other bitches and you're just a sucker! He's going to fuck you like the slut you are and then he's going to come back to me." I said something like that, I don't know word for word, but she was finally convinced. She said "Are you fucking serious?!" and looked at Jim all pissed off, she covered her tiny tits and then said "You're actually in a relationship with this disgusting fat pig?! And you told me it was your roommate, and this fucking freak went along with it?!" She said we were both tapped and had something seriously wrong with us and that she would never have anything to do with a man who would sleep with a "farm animal." Oh I was fuming mad now, and I knew Jim was too.

--I don't feel comfortable posting here what happened next due to strong sexual content. The rest will be in my private blog.--

Flimsy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138179)

Fuck that looks shaky, Fully soft instroment pannel with no anolog backup, I guess in space iff you are screwed you are screwed. That door looks a bit light weight too :S

Re:Flimsy (3, Interesting)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 5 months ago | (#47138237)

That was my first thought. Try using your iPad with any accuracy while falling down a flight of stairs in a barrel, and you have an idea of how idiotic touch screen only controls are for spaceflight if anything at all goes wrong.

Re:Flimsy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138261)

If you watch again he mentions manual buttons for critical functions.

Re:Flimsy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47139959)

The flight is completely automated. The only time an astronaut has to get involved is during emergencies, and there are physical buttons for those cases. The touch screens are merely dashboards for status.

Re:Flimsy (4, Informative)

stjobe (78285) | about 5 months ago | (#47138269)

http://www.spacex.com/webcast/ [spacex.com]

@13:38 he explains that all the critical functions needed to operate the spacecraft are available as manual (physical) buttons in the middle of the (locking-into-place) instrument panel. That includes a joystick for maneuvering.

How many flights to test? (1)

ehack (115197) | about 5 months ago | (#47138223)

Or do all programs run bugfree the day you write them?

Re:How many flights to test? (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#47138313)

Escape sequence test later this year groundside.

At least one more of those from atop a Falcon in flight,

After that, they can put men it for further testing groundside (pretty much more escape sequence testing).

Then they send some men up in the thing.

Note that in parallel with that testing, there'll probably be at least one unmanned test to the ISS to test whether this thing can dock to ISS without the robot arm.

After all that, it goes live. Note that Dragon V2 is expected to be man-rated by 2016, if you're trying to guesstimate how long any testing will take. Note further that "man-rated" does not necessarily mean "ready to dock with ISS"....

Re:How many flights to test? (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 5 months ago | (#47138353)

Want to bet on whether or not SpaceX convinces NASA to let them transition to sending up the DragonV2 on the supply runs as part of the testing? It would give the new capsule valuable flight data, and wouldn't cost NASA another cent contract wise.

Re:How many flights to test? (1)

Megane (129182) | about 5 months ago | (#47138685)

They're not really interchangeable. I'm pretty sure the berthing port is larger than the manned docking port, so that would limit the size of pressurized cargo because of the smaller door.

Re:How many flights to test? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 months ago | (#47138751)

Want to bet on whether or not SpaceX convinces NASA to let them transition to sending up the DragonV2 on the supply runs as part of the testing? It would give the new capsule valuable flight data, and wouldn't cost NASA another cent contract wise.

Probably already in the pipeline for when they need to start testing the capsule in space. Unmanned cargo launches to see what it does, then go for the meatshots.

Re: How many flights to test? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 5 months ago | (#47139025)

They have to alter the docking ring, something that's scheduled to happen later this year. That hardware will, IIRC, go up in one of the upcoming Dragon CRS flights. It's not needed for just the Dragon, either. Orion and all of the other capsules under development will also use it.

Re:How many flights to test? (1)

mojo-raisin (223411) | about 5 months ago | (#47138985)

Awesome. I've been wondering about these details. You work for SpaceX or something?

Re:How many flights to test? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 months ago | (#47138743)

Or do all programs run bugfree the day you write them?

That's what incremental tests are for. Like the legs they tested out on the latest Falcon launch.

Re:How many flights to test? (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about 5 months ago | (#47139207)

And the actual landing (albeit on water) of the actual first stage booster. That's quite a feat.

Translation (5, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#47138279)

Hadfield: "The United States cannot fly to the Space Station without Russia, and Russia can't fly to the Space Station without the United States."

Really means: "As a starry-eyed utopist, I don't WANT the United States to be able to fly to the Space Station without Russia, and I don't WANT Russia to be able to fly to the Space Station without the United States."

Why stop there, Hadfield? Why not make it impossible to do without the cooperation of China, India, Africa, South America and the other 90+% of the world, too? Because it doesn't just take a village; it takes a whole world to do anything.

Poppycock. Russia doesn't need the US to enable it to do a damn thing. And if/once the US gets its head out of its ass, it won't be abjectly dependent on Russia either. And the EU is there too, albeit not manned capability yet, and China and India are coming along rapidly too. And that is a good thing. The less you depend on a single gigantic tower of babel to accomplish everything, the better. That doesn't mean a desire for conflict. It means a desire for a rich flowering variety of innovating independent enterprises, because that is how you get redundancy.

The star trek universe of a brotherhood of peoples is a siren song of what we (some of us) believe can be, and want to be, But man, it is not held together by everyone believing they NEED everyone else to accomplish anything. It is held together by everyone WANTING to collaborate with everyone else to mutual benefit. The Earth guys still have their own starship design, as do the Klingons, the Cardassians, and yes, even the Ferengi and the Romulans. The only way you can get into the brotherhood is to first prove you're good enough to Do Stuff yourself.

Re:Translation (1)

silentbozo (542534) | about 5 months ago | (#47139315)

Chris Hadfield is a Canadian. Of course he wants international cooperation, otherwise, how is any non-US or non-Russian governmental astronaut/cosmonaut supposed to hitch a ride up and get a berth in orbit?

Re:Translation (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 5 months ago | (#47139661)

Chris Hadfield is a Canadian. Of course he wants international cooperation, otherwise, how is any non-US or non-Russian governmental astronaut/cosmonaut supposed to hitch a ride up and get a berth in orbit?

You're kidding, right?

At the moment, Canada pays the US to pay the Russians to get us into orbit. In a couple years we'll pay the US to pay SpaceX to get us into orbit, or we'll just pay SpaceX directly, and save a bundle in the process. It doesn't make bit of difference to us whether or not the US and Russia are cooperating.

Hadfield's pro-international-cooperation stance is purely a result of his own values and politics. Though I have a hunch most astronauts would voice similar feelings.

Re:Translation (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#47139907)

As a starry-eyed utopist

No as a realist. If we wanted anything in the US to do the job well enough to reject the Russian's help NOW we would have had to put some effort in back from when Clinton was President. Since there is no other serious choice for a few years there's no option other than to accept reality, pay for seats on Soyuz, and give companies like SpaceX some help for a few years until they become a serious contender.

Why not make it impossible to do without the cooperation of China, India, Africa, South America

Considering what it takes to communicate with things in orbit 24/7 it already is. When Houstan is over the horizon Cape Town may be in sight.

sex with a 8ar.e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47138621)

roots And Gets on MY CALLING. NOW I

Should say (0)

amightywind (691887) | about 5 months ago | (#47138667)

Should say SpaceX shows off Dragon V2 mockup. They are a joke.

Do NASA and Musk believe in Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47139393)

Personally, I view the whole global warming hupla.

But EM is selling expensive electric cars to wealth gay men who either believe global warming is real and want to help or want a status symbol yo show off. And NASA of late cannot even launch an astronaut into space anymore, but loves to lecture me on the importantance of science and the impacts of GW.

So my question is ready simple. What releases more CO2 into the air. Using a parachute and landing inthe ocean outside of LA and having boat bring us back or using rocket thrusters or re-entry? What model should a concerned GW and one world citizen support, which one will we be told 97% of scientists believe in?

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