First Commercial Spacecraft to dock with ISS this Year –Is the Next Google Being Launched?

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NASA and SpaceX agreed that the SpaceX Dragon capsule will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on 30 November then rendezvous and dock with the ISS on 7 December, nearly one year after its first test flight.

The original mission plan was to rendezvous and dock on separate attempts, but following the successful test flight SpaceX petitioned NASA to combine the two missions.


"We technically have agreed with SpaceX that we want to combine those flights," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations. "We are doing all the planning to go ahead and have those missions combined, but we haven't given them formal approval yet."

Many see private space flight following the model established by the computer industry which was first funded by US gov't initiatives and funding before evolving into the Google's and Microsofts we know today. US astronauts will still be reliant on lifts from the Russian Soyuz craft until the private vehicle is human-rated by NASA.

SpaceX doesn't expect this to be a sticking point. Earlier this year, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claimed that "astronauts flying on Dragon will be considerably safer" than those on the shuttle.

The Daily Galaxy via SpaceX and newscientist.com

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