Skip to comments.Dragon arrives at space station in historic 1st
Posted on 05/25/2012 8:45:26 AM PDT by mandaladon
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station for a historic docking Friday, captured by astronauts wielding a giant robot arm.
It succeeded in making the first commercial delivery into the cosmos.
U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit used the space station's 58-foot robot arm to snare the gleaming white Dragon after a few hours of extra checks and maneuvers. The two vessels came together while sailing above Australia.
"Looks like we've got us a dragon by the tail," Pettit announced from 250 miles up once he locked onto Dragon's docking mechanism.
"You've made a lot of folks happy down here over in Hawthorne and right here in Houston," radioed NASA's Mission Control. "Great job guys."
NASA controllers clapped as their counterparts at SpaceX's control center in Hawthorne, Calif. including SpaceX's billionaire maestro, Elon Musk, of PayPal fame lifted their arms in triumph and jumped out of their seats to exchange high fives.
This is the first time a private company has attempted to send a vessel to the space station, an achievement previously reserved for a small, elite group of government agencies. And it's the first U.S. craft to visit the station since the final shuttle flight last July.
The astronauts wasted no time getting the Dragon capsule into position for actual docking to the space station. The unmanned capsule is carrying 1,000 pounds of supplies on this unprecedented test flight.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
You dont know the components! Components? American components, Russian Components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!
Musk has taken sides. 'Nuff said.
The reality is that this country is broke. We must pay the Russians to get a ride to the space station. The new setup is just a fig leaf to cover up how poorly the space program has been managed. Lots of promises years down the line.
Real pioneers Armstrong and Cernan have been vocal critics of the push to commercialize space. The spaceflyers both testified before Congress to protest against government reliance on private space vehicles, saying that the commercialization of space could threaten America's dominance in space exploration.
Testifying before Congress, Armstrong went as far as to call the nation's current space efforts "embarrassing and unacceptable," according to The Register. Armstrong, who became the first person to set foot on the moon in 1969, went on to detail NASA's dismal future, going as far as to say that without the ability to lead manned missions to space, the U.S. risks losing its leadership position in exploration.
"Our choices are to lead, to try to keep up, or to get out of the way. A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain," Armstrong said in the testimony.
Armstrong wasn't the only one who testified in this manner either. Fellow astronaut Eugene Cernan also expressed his concern at the hearing according to The Register, simply saying, "Today we are on a path of decay."
In order to get a comprehensive perspective on this issue, I asked a number of senior industry leaders for their observations on the matter. This narrative is a compilation of my thoughts and their responses.
The uncertainties associated with the radical changes in space plans and policies of the last two years contributed to a substantial erosion of the United States historically highly regarded space industrial base. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and the space component of the industry is perceived as unstable, discouraging students from considering preparing themselves for entry into this exciting but demanding career path.
The United States aerospace industry has long enjoyed the reputation of building the best and most advanced aircraft in the world. Consequently, it is the number one contributor to the nations balance of payments, providing over 50 billion dollars in positive trade balance last year.
Aerospace industry jobs, characteristically, require high skill and provide relatively high compensation. The Aircraft Industry Association reports Aerospace provides more than 600,000 skilled middle-class jobs and the industry supports more than 2 million middle class jobs and 30,000 suppliers from all 50 states. NASA and its supporting contractors employ hundreds of thousands of highly skilled engineers and technicians in 44 states.
A substantial current and long range threat is, and will be, the downward trend in engineering degrees granted in this country and the substantial increase in such graduates in other parts of the world. Equally disconcerting are the projections for reductions in individuals grounded in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the so-called STEM disciplines. The number of such individuals in other countries is growing rapidly. They become the innovators and are largely responsible for the increasing quantity and quality of new aircraft and spacecraft emerging in foreign lands.
U.S. passengers on regional jets fly almost exclusively foreign aircraft. In 2008 and 2009, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to overseas companies. More than 60 countries are investing in space. China has sent Taikonauts into orbit and tells of their plans to fly to the moon. India is planning human space flight. Cargo to the International Space Station is flown on Russian, Japanese, or European craft. Americans currently have no access to space on American rockets or in American spacecraft.
The severe reductions in space activity such as the discontinuance of Space Shuttle operations, the cancellation of the Ares rockets, the end of the Minuteman refurbishment programs, the cancellation of the Altair spacecraft and the kinetic energy interceptor, and slowdowns in a variety of related projects have caused substantial erosion in many critical technology areas and are creating negative economies of scale cost increases for both liquid and solid rocket producers.
Most importantly, public policy must be guided by the recognition that we live in a technology driven world where progress is rapid and unstoppable. Our choices are to lead, to try to keep up, or to get out of the way. A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain.
"In 2006, NASA awarded the company a Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract to design and demonstrate a launch system to resupply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS)""
You continue to evade the question, Mr. kabar.
Once again, who was President of the United States in 2006, Mr. kabar?
What ya conveniently left out is and he also contributed to the Republican party and Tea Party people, such as Rubio, among others etc.
Private industry greases their own wheels and contributes when they feel the need.
Ya think this is something new Mr. kabar?
The reality is that this country is broke. We must pay the Russians to get a ride to the space station.
4/2011 Russian Resistance to SpaceX Dragon Docking
We will not issue docking permission unless the necessary level of reliability and safety is proven, said Alexei Krasov, head of the human spaceflight department of Roscosmos. So far we have no proof that those spacecraft duly comply with the accepted norms of spaceflight safety.
Of course, it was Russia who stood to gain by blocking SpaceX.
Safety? That's odd, as they seemed to have little regard for safety prior to this.
Looks like you and the Russian are unhappy people.
This is really gunna piss you off!
Some happy people for a change Mr. kabar.
Hundreds of SpaceX Employees Cheering Outside Mission Control 1
Video: SpaceX employees standing outside mission control at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California, watching the successful stage separation.
This is what America is all about Mr. kabar.
And the fact is private industry contributes to both parties, just like Musk/SpaceX did.
Again, this is nothing new to those in business. It’s been going on for hundreds of years.
BTW, did ya notice SpaceX mission control? It’s as bare bones as you can get!
NASA needs to spec the results and get the hell out of the picture, and let competent people achieve them at lowest cost.
Your 1950s view of space is dead and gone.
He felt strongly about a technical issue, developed a plan, did the background work, and presented it at a meeting with Musk.
Musk agreed and nobody raised any technical objections, so Musk basically said "Ok, that's the way we'll do it".
Freaked out the former NASA employee. His plan wasn't going to get nibbled away by a dozen meetings with various engineering boards, and if it failed, it was his, and his alone.
That equipment is flying in space today.
That's the difference between the Shuttle years and today.
Donald Pettit an American chemical engineer and a NASA astronaut.
“Like the smell of a brand-new car” were the words of International Space Station astronaut Don Pettit on Saturday after he carefully opened the hatch and entered the Dragon capsule for his first glimpse inside.
Thanks for posting Neil Armstrong’s congressional testimony. That’s a powerful, and very true statement.
It nearly makes me ill to see the liberal Democrats getting away with the wholesale destruction of our space program, and undermining America’s hard-earned lead in technological innovation. There’s no question that they’re doing this deliberately, and that their motivations spring from their bankrupt socio-political philosophy.
Only the most twisted, diseased mind, could possibly conclude that what they’re doing is for the greater good. Every single thing that is touched by them, becomes degraded or injured in some way. Any rational person can see this from a distance, but even when liberals are fully immersed in the effects of their disastrous policies, they remain utterly blind to the harm they’re causing.
I don’t see the current trend reversing, until such time as we have a pro-American government in power again.
Space-X isn't working for cost plus, with NASA micro-managing. Now, NASA has finally set some specs and said, meet these specs, and we don't care how you do it. Space-X wants to make the customer happy.
Space-X builds more rocket engines than anyone in the US, now. And they haven't spent nearly the money that the Lockheed/GD/Northrop/Martin, etc... have in doing it.
We're actually moving forward again with the space program, and innovations, without chasing our tail the way NASA has done for the past 30 years.
Great story, I read about it.
BTW, when I read government forms, I'm thinking, is this written by some former acid head turned government accountant/lawyer?
Even the simplest forms which should be 1 page, are 40 pages, convoluted, overly complicated and disjointed. I read government tax forms, and I want to put a match to them. I'm convinced, they just pull these scams out of their hats, and concoct their formulas out of thin air, all of which just happen to benefit government. Then you're forced to sign, under threat of extreme penalty and prison. lol...
Musk expects failures, since it's a part of learning and innovating and moving forward. He's more likely to punish someone that sits on dead-center and won't move because of fear.
Victory favors the bold, and NASA isn't well known for bold, these days.
It’s a shame too, as I was a huge NASA supporter during the 1960s, 70s and into the 80s.
I still support NASA and some of their endeavors, just not the punitive control, bureaucracy and politics involved.
SpaceX: Space Station crew likes what it sees in new transport vehicle
The craft made aerospace history Friday by becoming the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with another spacecraft on orbit.
I spent quite a bit of time poking around in here this morning looking at the engineering and the layout, and I’m very pleased, observes Don Petitt, a space station flight engineer and the crew member who guided the station’s robotic arm as it grappled the craft for docking Friday morning.
Petitt likened the event to the Golden Spike that symbolized the final link joining eastbound and westbound segments of the first transcontinental railroad line. The spike was driven into that last wooden rail tie on May 10, 1869. This is kind of the equivalent of the Golden Spike,
What they don't have is a role in micro-managing how things get done, or trying to engineer spacecraft. The Shuttle was a committee designed nightmare that did nothing well, except explode at awkward times.
Functional specs, yes. Design, no. We've seen how that works. And it's ugly.
I’m sure you’re aware of this side note.
SpaceX takes Star Trek’s ‘Scotty’ to the Final Frontier
SpaceX: The ashes of the actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on ‘Star Trek’ were launched to space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Seem Scotty/Mr. Doohan, was a real life space fan.
My kids asked if I wanted my ashes sent aloft. I explained that I'll take my urn spot at the local National Cemetary with my rank and citations on it, and I'll get my ashes scattered in all due time (6-8 billion years), and I won't mind the wait if I'm ashified.