Hey Space Placers!
We in the U.S. might finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel regarding home grown U.S. manned spaceflight capability. The U.S. lost its inherent ability to launch astronauts into space when the space shuttle program was retired in 2011.
Ever since that moment when Atlantis landed the U.S. has had to rely on Russia to get to space at $70+ million a seat. Current Russian events show how tenuous that reliance is.
Yesterday, May 29th, saw the unveiling of SpaceX's Dragon V2 MANNED spacecraft. Capable of carrying up to 7 astronauts, the spacecraft is a manned rated version of SpaceX's very successful Dragon spacecraft that has ferried cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX hopes to have its first manned launch in 2-3 years which would be years before NASA's Orion/SLS has its first manned launch slated for 2021 - see my blog from yesterday.
Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft and Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spaceplane are also being developed for U.S. manned spaceflight capability.
All 3 designs are part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
Another NASA program that I hope you will follow is Project Morpheus. A manned spacecraft is all well and good to GO somewhere in space BUT you need to be able to LAND on other celestial bodies!
That is what Morpheus is all about - developing technologies that will allow NASA to land robotically or with astronauts - on other worlds.
I have been following Project Morpheus and have watched live on the 'Net some of the test flights. The latest flight was on May 28th and was at night - WAY COOL!
Keep turning and burning NASA and you space entrepreneurs! Let's get America back in the manned spaceflight business!
Sky Guy in VA