The SpaceX Dragon has successfully completed its first demonstration mission to the International Space Station.
Wish I had time to opine more, but for now get thee to this here link for pictures and details.
Here’s a shot of Dragon waiting for its ride home:
The significance of this mission cannot be overstated. From my layman’s perspective, it was pretty much flawless – and did I mention this was only the second flight? There’s been a lot of skepticism about the whole Commercial Crew program from politicians and others who are ordinarily pro-free market, but when seeing their NASA cash cow starved, begin to freak out and insist on throwing more money at an agency which has not demonstrated that it can successfully develop a new spacecraft in the past thirty years.
Instead, these “conservatives” have been confused by the national-greatness vision of a SPACE PROGRAM™, and thrown in their lot with the big-government spendaholics. This, in my opinion, is the only legitimate area of criticism the Obamatrons have with Romney.
Tea Party in Space has a snarky bit of fun with the naysayers. Mike Griffin, here’s your laundry:
Hopefully these doubting Thomases have been given enough proof to have faith in the private sector which they claim to support. Accessing low earth orbit is well-enough understood now that it’s past time to let private industry take it over. As Heinlein said, low orbit is “halfway to anywhere” – let NASA figure out how to get beyond the halfway mark, in the meantime let us dirty capitalist pigs give them a ride up there.
What’s interesting is that the guy behind all this, Elon Musk, is not much younger than I am and he fully intends to make it all the way to Mars before he retires. Might be crazy, might not be. But I’ll bet he at least gets one of these ships around the Moon and back some day. I’d wager it happens within a decade.
In twenty-odd years (assuming I’m comfortably retired and not a WalMart greeter), I believe it’ll be possible for an average schmuck like me to buy a ticket on one of these things. Some people retire and travel to see the world – I’d like to do it from a better vantage point.