Elon Musk unveiled on Thursday night, that SpaceX has created the world’s first commercial and reusable manned spacecraft: Dragon V2. The spacecraft looks very similar to the LEM unit that NASA used to use in the Apollo missions. What makes this module special is that it can land vertically back on Earth by using retro rockets to enable it to have “the accuracy of a helicopter,” Musk said.
The ability to reuse a spacecraft again is no small matter. Musk said, “imagine if aircraft were thrown away after each flight. No one could afford to fly.” The SpaceX founder claims the Dragon V2 capsule is able to be refuelled and ready to go back into space on the same day.
The Dragon V2 launch event showed a video simulation of the craft heading to the International Space Station. Musk then stepped inside the craft and sat in one of the seven seats designed for humans. Once inside the gleaming 21st century spacecraft looked very high tech, with large touch screens instead of the usual instrument panels.
NASA is currently dependent on the Russian Soyuz system and unfortunately they are having a few issues at the moment; the Russian deputy prime minister famously informed the US last month it could use trampolines instead of the Soyuz system. SpaceX is in the process of presenting the Dragon V2 to NASA as a replacement for Soyuz. Elon Musk told journalists after the event that he expects the first manned V2 flight to happen in 2016, but NASA hasn’t confirmed whether they will be using this system or looking elsewhere.
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[Image via major-news]