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#1 Crimson Lego

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:36 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-18154937

The head of Nasa has hailed a "new era" in exploration after the launch of the first cargo delivery to the space station by a private company.
The Falcon rocket, topped by an unmanned Dragon freight capsule, lifted clear of its Florida pad at 03:44 EDT (07:44 GMT; 08:44 BST).
The launch system has been built by California-based firm SpaceX.
The initial climb to an altitude some 340km above the Earth lasted a little under 10 minutes.
Within moments of being ejected, Dragon opened its solar panels.
It also unpacked its navigation equipment.
Nasa's administrator Charles Bolden said: "Today marks the beginning of a new era in exploration... The significance of this day cannot be overstated; a private company has launched a spacecraft to the International Space Station that will attempt to dock there for the first time.
"And while there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, we are certainly off to good start."
It will take a couple of days to reach the station. The plan currently is for the vessel to demonstrate its guidance, control and communications systems on Thursday, at a distance of 2.5km from the International Space Station (ISS).

......


I personally find it good to see that the private sector is starting to take an interest in space; maybe this will help us on the path to colonization on other planets.

However, after reading Dan Brown's Deception Point, I am kinda afraid that they'll, like other major corporations in certain fields, use the stuff to monopolize space and turn it into an advertising campaign land (highest bidder).

#2 arunma

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:54 PM

Well, I'm as excited about this as the next space enthusiast. But I don't see this so much as a fundamental paradigm shift as much as a natural evolution of the space program. The use of private contractors is nothing new to NASA. Back in the sixties, the Grummin Corporation was responsible for the construction of many space vehicle components, including (I think) the Apollo command modules. IBM was also heavily involved. If you look at old videos of mission control during an actual spaceflight, you'll see a bunch of guys wearing IBM T-shirts operating many of the consoles. What we have here is a private coporation playing a much larger role in the mission, i.e. construction, launch, and operation of the vehicle and delivery system. It's a pretty big step for the contractors, but this was bound to happen.

What's good about our new system of doing things is that if NASA uses contract awards to stir up more competition, people might actually get back to work developing better vehicles that can get us along on our way to Mars. For years people have been worried about the brain drain at NASA, which I think is because of the better salaries paid in the corporate world. This might be the solution to that. I never said capitalism was all bad. :)

#3 Egann

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:25 AM

Let's be honest: we've been expecting space flight to become contractor-work for some time now. After the X-prize was claimed seven years ago, it was only a matter of time, so I'm actually surprised that this 4 meter blob actually managed to make headlines.


Meanwhile, the Russians are back to their cold war tricks, claiming to have plans to create a moon base: http://www.aviationw...5-01-460939.xml

Personally, I think this is all smoke and mirrors; Russia isn't economically capable of establishing a moon base. It's an attempt to make Americans flinch because we don't have shuttles anymore.

#4 arunma

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:42 PM

Let's be honest: we've been expecting space flight to become contractor-work for some time now. After the X-prize was claimed seven years ago, it was only a matter of time, so I'm actually surprised that this 4 meter blob actually managed to make headlines.


Meanwhile, the Russians are back to their cold war tricks, claiming to have plans to create a moon base: http://www.aviationw...5-01-460939.xml

Personally, I think this is all smoke and mirrors; Russia isn't economically capable of establishing a moon base. It's an attempt to make Americans flinch because we don't have shuttles anymore.


I don't know...we've been cooperating with the Russians for quite awhile now, I'm not sure NASA really cares what the Russians are up to space-wise. I wish we'd have another space race with our old respectable adversaries. The motivation to beat the Soviets is why in a single decade we went from unreliable ballistic missiles to putting someone on the moon. That, and the downed Decepticon spaceship...

#5 Steel Samurai

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:55 PM

Really, another Cold War period would help both the economy and government immensely.

#6 Nevermind

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:48 PM

There's always China. Black Ops 2 jumped right on that one.

#7 Crimson Lego

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:19 PM

That should be an interesting storyline; hopefully I'll be able to understand at least some of the Mandarin that they put into that game.