Saturday, May 19, 2012

Godspeed, SpaceX Dragon!

Today is the day!

It's just a cargo delivery run to low Earth orbit and the ISS, but it's the first such flight by a commercial spaceflight company!  What's more, all it takes to make the reusable Dragon cargo capsule a crew module is the installation of up to seven seats.  Ending an era in which crew safety was compromised in pursuit of mission objectives, the Dragon capsule rides on top of the stack, has a launch abort system, and has a reentry heat shield that won't be rendered useless by running into a chunk of foam.   The future is here.

UPDATE: The future will have to wait.  This morning, in the moment between "all engines start" and "liftoff" a fault was detected by on board systems and the launch was automatically aborted.  Rats.

REUPDATE: Looks like they'll make repairs and try again Tuesday 22 May 2012.  Cool.