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SpaceX moves toward manned flight


November 2, 2012

Artist's concept of Falcon 9's second stage ignition (Image: Spacex)

Artist's concept of Falcon 9's second stage ignition (Image: Spacex)

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SpaceX has completed the first three performance milestones for the manned version of its Dragon/Falcon 9 spacecraft and launch system. In an announcement at its Hawthorne, California, headquarters, SpaceX said that the milestones are part of NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative, which is intended to develop privately owned and operated manned spacecraft capable of taking passengers into low Earth orbit for NASA and private customers.

As SpaceX moves into what NASA calls the “third commercial crew phase” of the initiative, SpaceX provided the space agency with an integrated systems requirements review, which outlines the techniques the company will use to design, build and test the Dragon/Falcon 9 system. It also told NASA how it intends to handle manned flights from ground operations through to landing.

Mock up of the manned version of the Dragon capsule (Image: Spacex)

Previous milestones included a technical baseline review where NASA and SpaceX reviewed the Dragon/Falcon 9 system and discussed plans for ground operations for manned flights, and a review of SpaceX’s plans for achieving CCiCap milestones and the company’s financial resources.

In addition, SpaceX has developed an emergency abort system using a SuperDraco Engine that will fly the capsule to safety in the event of a launch emergency.

Source: NASA

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

Rockets are so 16th century! I wish them well but lets come out of the dark-ages with space tech already.

Andrew Tinari

SuperDraco Engine that will fly the capsule to safety in the event of a launch emergency. aka the booster fricking blows UP, godspeed SpaceX

Bill Bennett

Cant wait till they mass produce Dragon capsule & cargo Dragon for Pvt Manned Space. ISS can get to be very crowded Big time unless add more Hab modules.

Stephen Russell

@andrew LOL. rockets may be 16th century but they are currently the only option in the launcher business. Even the Shuttle was a glorified rocket. There are other concepts in research but are 10+ years form orbiting payloads. Until then rockets will remain the only option. If you look at SpaceX's future plans they have a reasonably staged plan for incremental improvements up to massive launch capability and interplanetary operations.

Joel Joines

Bigelow's BA 330 would fill that need nicely. In the meantime, a spacelab designed/ built by Bigelow Aerospace is planned to be launched by SpaceX in late 2015/early 2016

Falcon Heavy could launch 2 of the large Bigelow BA 330s in one go ( 11,000 cu ft each)

Things are moving!

Michael Martin-Smith

@ Andrew Tinari Unless you have an orbital tower on your person rockets are going to have to do for manned flight.

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