Thursday, October 27, 2011

Enhanced Dragon capsule begins launch preparations

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News

  • The gumdrop-shaped capsule was trucked cross-country from Hawthorne, Calif
  • It arrived Sunday at the SpaceX hangar in Cape Canaveral.
  • Other new systems on the upcoming flight include the hatch, a bay door housing the craft's grapple fixture, and a claw that provides electrical and data connections between the capsule and its trunk, or service module, Musk told Congress on Wednesday.
  • Liftoff of the next Dragon is scheduled aboard a Falcon 9 rocket for no earlier than Dec. 19
  • officials agreed to combine the second and third demos, known as Dragon C2 and C3, into a single mission
Other news for SpaceX:

SpaceX: We Need NASA to Change Crew Contracts

  • "We may not bid on it," SpaceX founder Elon Musk said. However he is increasingly optimistic that the agency will change some of the rules that dictate the design.
  • As Popular Mechanics reported last week, this early version of the contract allows NASA to exert more control over the hardware design than many in the industry are comfortable with.
  • That is a big deal, considering the contract is fixed-price.
  • What is clear, the companies say, is that the timeline in NASA’s contract is too slow—all the players told Congress they could launch by 2015, while the NASA contract states a 2017 flight date.

Could NASA be sabotaging commercial crew in order to protect their turf?

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