Earlier this week the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, unveiled the Dragon V2 the latest version of the Dragon capsule that will be able to take astronauts to and from the International Space Station. It looks awesome.
It will be reusable and will be able to do a soft landing with no parachutes using its rocket engines to land like a really cool helicopter. It is able to dock with the International Space Station without the assistance of the station’s robotic arm.
The best part is probably the inside - it can carry seven astronauts in relative comfort and the fold down control panel looks like something out of science-fiction.
It has a duel touchscreen while also having all the really important buttons and controls as physical switches in the centre console.
In a few years the V2 may be being used regularly with the Russians threatening to no longer allow American astronauts to use the Russian Soyuz capsule after US sanctions were imposed following the Ukraine crisis. The US currently has no other way to reach space meaning they may need to bring commercial human spaceflight into existence a few years earlier than anticipated. Finally politics may create a second space race.
The goal of SpaceX is to make access to space more affordable through the creation of truly reusable spacecraft.
I have always believed in human spaceflight for multiple reasons. Our planet has been through many extinction events with up to 30% of species destroyed. It is only a matter of time before a super volcano happens or an asteroid strike makes this world very difficult for people to survive. This might not happen for a million years or it might happen tomorrow. Human Spaceflight also gives us some mystery and excitement - something to look forward to.
Did I say I love SpaceX?