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Old 04-17-2012, 08:17 AM   #1
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Talking NASA clears SpaceX for cargo run to space station

The nerd in me is really excited to see the private sector going into space. Competition will spur advancement like nothing that has been seen since the 1960s. It is going to be very interesting to watch this new industry develop.


NASA clears SpaceX for cargo run to space station


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA on Monday cleared a cargo ship owned by Space Exploration Technologies for a test flight to the International Space Station that is scheduled to launch on April 30, NASA officials said.

The Dragon mission would be the first time a privately owned and operated vessel visits the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory owned by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada that orbits about 240 miles above Earth.

NASA is counting on Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, and a second company, Orbital Sciences Corp., to keep the space station stocked with supplies and science experiments following the retirement of the space shuttles last year. The companies' combined contracts for cargo deliveries are worth $3.8 billion.

"In order for space station to be successful, these systems have to be there for us," space station program manager Mike Suffredini said at news conference following a NASA review of the upcoming SpaceX mission.

"We're really rooting for the teams to come through," added NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier.

So far, NASA has invested $381 million in the SpaceX rocket and cargo capsule, with the company and investors contributing about another $700 million, SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule also are in the running to serve as a space taxi for astronauts. The United States hopes to break Russia's monopoly on flying crews to the station, a service that cost more than $60 million per person, by 2016 under a related NASA program.

"This is a test flight and we may not succeed on getting all the way to the space station," Musk said. "I think we've got a pretty good shot, but it's important to acknowledge that a lot can go wrong. This is pretty tricky."

If the launch is successful, the Dragon capsule would conduct a series of maneuvers and tests in orbit before NASA clears it for approach and berthing at the station, which is targeted for May 3. It would remain attached to the outpost for several weeks before flying back to Earth and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean for recovery.

The capsule will carry 1,149 pounds (521 kg) of food and non-critical equipment and supplies to the station. It is expected to return 1,455 pounds (660 kg) of cargo back to Earth, a capability that far exceeds what the Russian Soyuz capsules can hold.

The European and Japanese ships that also fly cargo to the station incinerate in the atmosphere after making deliveries and do not return to Earth.

NASA plans a final review of the Dragon mission on April 23 to verify SpaceX flight software. The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for launch at 12:22 p.m. EDT (1622 GMT) on April 30, with a backup launch opportunity on May 3.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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IF i am correct Space X is owned my Elon Musk. I dont trust that man. So i would definitely not be the first person to go up in his machine.

But thats just me..
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:31 PM   #3
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IF i am correct Space X is owned my Elon Musk. I dont trust that man. So i would definitely not be the first person to go up in his machine.

But thats just me..
Why don't you trust him? Personally, I kind of idolize him... he's 40 and he owns 3 companies, one of which is a freaking rocket company! And, all three companies he owns are cutting edge: electric vehicles, renewable energy, and space travel. (oh and he also started that little PayPal thing which he sold for a ton of money when he was in his twenties)

Furthermore, the very first test flight of the Falcon 9 rocket went flawlessly and they've been working with NASA to make sure all their software for this launch is going to work like it should. I have a high degree of faith in Space X's ability as a company, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they revolutionize the new Space Industry.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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I only said i wouldnt be the first to go up....

And the reason being is that he has yet to produce his 4 door electric vehicle that he has sold to many customers already.... its been I believe 3 years and nothing.

Tesla's are awesome little cars though!
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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I only said i wouldnt be the first to go up....

And the reason being is that he has yet to produce his 4 door electric vehicle that he has sold to many customers already.... its been I believe 3 years and nothing.

Tesla's are awesome little cars though!
OK, yeah that's fair enough, I can't say that I'd be brave enough to be the first guy to go up on a new capsule either heheh Not familiar enough with the Model S to know what the development cycle has been there, but it does look like 5,000 units are scheduled to be produced this year. Look at the amount of issues our historical well established car companies have... now imagine trying to start from scratch with an entirely different technology than the rest of the world uses
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #6
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA on Monday cleared a cargo ship owned by Space Exploration Technologies for a test flight to the International Space Station that is scheduled to launch on April 30, NASA officials said.
I hope they don't drop their cargo at the first sign of an imperial starship. It's not good business.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:32 AM   #7
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I hope they don't drop their cargo at the first sign of an imperial starship. It's not good business.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:45 AM   #8
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I hope they don't drop their cargo at the first sign of an imperial starship. It's not good business.
You, sir, win!
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:19 AM   #9
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Hey Chase, here's one for ya: They haven't confirmed it yet, but quite possibly the world's first official asteroid mining company:
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news...0137#c64810137

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The folks who brought you zero-gravity airplane flights and multimillion-dollar trips to the International Space Station have lined up some billionaire investors for their next space venture — but they're not quite ready to tell you all about it.

Instead, they're sending out a media alert for a Seattle news conference next week, when they promise to "unveil a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity's prosperity." The new venture, called Planetary Resources, has the stated aim of expanding Earth's resource base. That's led a couple of observers to speculate that Planetary Resources is being formed to go into the extraterrestrial mining business.


One of the venture's founders is Peter Diamandis, who has played a leading role in setting up multimillion-dollar X Prizes for private space travel and other technological feats. He also founded Zero G Corp., which turned weightless-airplane flights into a tourist attraction. The other co-founder/co-chairman is Eric Anderson, who is chairman of Space Adventures, the company that has arranged space station trips for a succession of millionaires and billionaires.
A former client of Anderson's, software billionaire (and two-time spaceflier) Charles Simonyi, is listed as an investor in Planetary Resources. Other investors and advisers on the list include Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, plus fellow billionaires K. Ram Shriram and Ross Perot Jr. (son of the former presidential candidate), plus filmmaker James Cameron.
Today's media alert says the new company "will overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources.'"

"That sounds like asteroid mining," Christopher Mims writes on MIT Technology Review's "Mims' Bits" blog. "Because what else is there in space that we need here on earth? Certainly not a livable climate or a replacement for our dwindling supplies of oil."
Parabolic Arc's Doug Messier, meanwhile, writes that the venture will be an "extraterrestrial mining company."


Diamandis has said on more than one occasion that he's intrigued by the idea of digging into asteroids, for materials ranging from water (for fuel as well as for astronauts) to precious metals such as platinum. The Verge points to a TED talk in 2005 where Diamandis discusses his dream, while Forbes magazine has brought up the subject with him more than once in the past few months.

For now, Planetary Resources is keeping the mystery close to the vest. The plan is to reveal the details next Tuesday at the Seattle Museum of Flight's Charles Simonyi Space Gallery. Diamandis, Anderson and Simonyi will be in attendance, along with Chris Lewicki, a former NASA Mars mission manager who is the company's president and chief engineer; and Tom Jones, a planetary scientist and retired astronaut who serves as an adviser to the company.
Will the mystery keep until then? Stay tuned.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:58 PM   #10
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Hey Chase, here's one for ya: They haven't confirmed it yet, but quite possibly the world's first official asteroid mining company:
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news...0137#c64810137
Hadn't heard about that one but I was aware of a company looking to mine helium-3 on the moon.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:32 PM   #11
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this is something NASA needs more than they are willing to admit. We need the private sector to shuttle satellites and goods up into low earth orbit and allow NASA to focus their time, money and efforts on long term colonization



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I hope they don't drop their cargo at the first sign of an imperial starship. It's not good business.
oh man... I'm seriously rolling over here
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:22 AM   #12
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Didn't quite work out this time....

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/19/tech/u...html?hpt=hp_t1
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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Didn't quite work out this time....

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/19/tech/u...html?hpt=hp_t1
Better safe than sorry. Glad to see that they sided with safety.
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:50 PM   #14
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Next launch attempt is Tuesday the 22nd last time I checked.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:13 AM   #15
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Initial reports are that we had a successful launch this morning.

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The SpaceX company made history as its Falcon 9 rocket rose from its seaside launch pad and pierced the pre-dawn sky, aiming for a rendezvous later this week with the space station.
It's no moon.

Twitter pic of launch from nasa.gov :
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:19 AM   #16
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Just watched the launch live... should be separating from the rocket booster about now...
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:27 AM   #17
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According to the mission brief, it'll be another 5-6 days before docking with the Station and a couple of weeks after than before heading home.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:43 AM   #18
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They are calling it a birth instead of dock... since they will be reaching out and grabbing it to pull it in. CNN news said 2 days to rendezvous with the space station then some flying around to check things out.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:07 AM   #19
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They are calling it a birth instead of dock... since they will be reaching out and grabbing it to pull it in.
Then the Falcon will have to wait until Obi Wan can disable the arm so they can get away. Hopefully with the tracking beacon attached.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:17 AM   #20
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So who is flying this and where do they train I wonder?
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:49 AM   #21
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So who is flying this and where do they train I wonder?
Someone on the ground is flying it... company is from somewhere in SoCal
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:59 PM   #22
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Elon Musk is the coolest person alive imo. Zuckerberg is a joke compared to his accomplishments.
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