By Phoenix McLaughlin, Policymic.com, 07.12
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule was in the news once
again when NASA announced that it passed a design review for a manned
launch. NASA is expecting Dragon — and at least one other of the three capsules it selected for its commercial crew development program (CCDev2) - to be read for its first mission in 2017. In the meantime, the U.S. is depending on Russian spacecraft to get our astronauts into orbit. at $60 million-a-seat, the aging Russian Soyuz program will hopefully soon be eclipsed by the $20 million-a-seat Dragon.
The news about Dragon came only a couple weeks after NASA had news of its own with the unveiling of the Orion capsule in its early stages. Built primarily by Lockheed Martin (but to NASA specifications, in contrast to the Dragon capsule which is fully developed by the private sector), the olive drab hull was shown off at the Kennedy Center surrounded by NASA employees and congressmen. The capsule is scheduled to make its first unmanned flight in 2014, with the Space Launch System (the rocket for taking Orion to the moon or beyond) scheduled to test launch in 2017.
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