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The competition heats up: SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has been berthed with ISS, bringing with it Bigelow’s privately built inflatable test module.
This berthing also makes it the first time the two American cargo freighters, Dragon and Cygnus, are docked at ISS at the same time.
In a related non-news story, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, which now controls that country’s entire aerospace industry, claimed in a television interview today that Russia is the world’s “undisputed leader … in launch vehicles and launch services,” noting that they launch about 40% of all launches worldwide.
That’s nice for him to say, but just because you say it doesn’t make it so. I expect that 40% number (which includes all Russian government launches and is thus inflated from their actual market share) to shrink considerably in the coming years, as the Russian space industry has shown a complete inability to innovate in the last twenty years. With the consolidation of that industry into a single corporation all run by the government, I do not expect that inability to go away anytime soon.