It's nice to have someone showing governments how to do it properly.
Easter Sunday may have been all about eggs and chocolate bunnies for many, but the crew of the International Space Stations spent the day acting as specialist stevedores as SpaceX's Dragon capsule was successfully attached using the station's robotic arm. "Dragon attachment to the International Space Station is confirmed! …
Well the US government is paying for it, so the government is doing something properly too.
Economists have been banging on for ages about the idea that just because there is a public good (space access) that should be paid for via taxation to avoid free rider problems, it doesn't mean that the good/service needs to be provided by a government owned entity, and that competition between private providers can drive efficiency.
This doesn't just apply to rockets, look at the Swedish school education system.
The US government is paying for SpaceX to deliver the stuff to the ISS. Look on it as a courier service. And this courier service is much much cheaper than anyone else's. So, yes, the government is doing something right. Until the point you realise they are also funding SLS, which is completely insane.
(Of course, SpaceX has benefited greatly from previous research by NASA which was of course funded by the government)
This post has been deleted by a moderator
It's bringing 1,563kg back down, including the space suit water system that failed so spectacularly.
That's something no one else can do, not even the Russians.
Also, I hear the landing-leg experiment was very successful, and the F9R 1st stage looks like it managed a soft landing in the middle of the ocean with no issues. That's the first look from the telemetry from the tracking plane. The boat hasn't gotten there yet since it's really rough seas.
Yes, kudos to SpaceX for getting Dragon to ISS but major praise for controlling the descent of the 1st stage. Yes, the weather was poor and the recovery ships were out of position but that was history being made, right there. I just wish that there was video of the first stage coming down out of the sky - the clouds might have made it even more photogenic - and then hovering over the waves for a second or two before landing (!) on the waves.
The Jesus-impression would have lasted a fraction of a second and, if it weren't obscured by steam, would have made for a killer picture. I just wish that some website, somewhere, had details of the descent of the 1st stage. Elon hasn't said much on his Twitter feed about it.
And no on to a land recovery!
"Because when it reaches the ISS it won't be 5000lbs at all. So they won't be unpacking 5000lbs of goods just a certain volume which when on Earth weighs 5000lbs. Simples"
This seems to imply that just because its in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace that the payload has just become a volume without mass. I find this hard to believe because to get it there, in orbit, a significant force was applied over time to accelerate it the speed necessary to achieve that orbit. Even if it had left the earths gravity it would still have mass and force, in pounds force if you like or newtons in SI, would still have to be applied to move the payload about.
This post has been deleted by its author
So when does SpaceX get to dock with the ISS on its own, without help from the arm? Or is that still a long time in the future?
Lots of exciting stuff for them still to do. Obviously landing a first stage is going to be superb. But I'm hoping that they can strap an astronaut into a capsule soon, instead of a cheese.
For the first time in ages, there's a prospect of exciting things happening in the space industry. For years it's been a case of utilitising existing technology to do stuff - and the future has looked to be more of the same. Refining our techniques and doing science. All very good of course, but not exciting for someone who's 40, and doesn't have long before having to give up all hope of ever going to space. But with all the developments going on now, I can dream of spending my 80th birthday in a space hotel...
Lots of other stuff is going on. But the most exciting stuff is watching SpaceX apply new technology and ideas to rockets - so even if a spaceplane/shuttle is still decades away we're still advancing again!
So when does SpaceX get to dock with the ISS on its own, without help from the arm?
When the capsule has a human being onboard of course, that way they've got someone to blame if there's an 'oops' moment.
More seriously, it'll be when DragonRider (Dragon Mk II) flies... In about three to four years.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020