Historic Dragon Caught: Dawn of Commercial Space

25 05 2012

(Credit: NASA)

Quite literally, the sun dawned across from the International Space Station minutes ago to reveal history in the making.

During a flawless night-time “grab,” Astronaut Don Pettit used the station’s robotic Canada arm to successfully secure SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft.  This makes SpaceX the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and rendezvous with the station.

(Credit: NASA)

Human history will never be the same.  It is now living fact that entrepreneurs can leave our planet to seek reward beyond.

-And a mythical dragon took us there.

All looks well, and so-called “berthing” of the spacecraft (not to be confused with “docking,” which occurs under a spacecraft’s own power,) to the station should occur later today.

(Credit: NASA)

(Credit: NASA)


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3 responses

28 05 2012
Edward Richardson

I’m very happy for the SpaceX program as the Russians backstabbed us on their ticket price to orbit but let me downplay this term “commercial space business.” It’s ALL commercial, these are contractors. Private companies engineered and built Apollo (with the exception of MIT designing and building the feckless guidance system and there was controversy over them being given preferential treatment over IBM), the space shuttles, and the ISS. A public school contract with Xerox to supply printers is no different. SpaceX is out to win a government contract of $1.6 billion.

This will be a government contract game for a long time, it’s simply too expensive to a be a private enterprise alone, cell phone satellites notwithstanding.

29 05 2012
astrowright

Edward,

Thanks so much for reading and for offering your thoughts! Yes, I realize the use of the word “commercial” presents a sort of semantic minefield. Perhaps a more accurate phrase would be “independent commercial” or “self-directed commercial” space. Of course corporations have always been in the loop. The question here is the motivation. I think the entire fledgling “commercial space” industry agrees that the new market won’t really work if the International Space Station is the only destination. This is why, in addition to the gov’t contract for ISS, work by Bigelow Aerospace and others is so important. By shopping commercial space station space/time to smaller world governments, corporations, and research institutions, multiple destinations will be available, which leads to more paying clients than simply the government of the U.S. of A. There’s been a chicken-and-egg problem here, with Bigelow delaying construction and launch of his commercial stations until commercial transportation systems had been proven… And with this success, it’ll be interesting to see if there is indeed a complementary boost in activity from the commercial station providers.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and I’ll endeavor to keep relevant posts coming!

Cheers,
Ben

7 01 2013
Why Support Human Spaceflight? « Astrowright

[…] of foresight, Vernikos then goes on to point out that commercial space travel providers (see: SpaceX) will rely on the knowledge gained from human spaceflight to support a safe and secure experience […]

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