SpaceX signs deal to fly four tourists on Dragon


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Capitalism in space: SpaceX has signed a deal with the space tourism company Space Adventures to fly four tourists on a single crew Dragon flight.

The private spaceflight company founded by billionaire Elon Musk has signed an agreement with the U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures to launch up to four passengers on an orbital trip aboard a Crew Dragon space capsule. The mission would last up to five days and could launch as early as late 2021, Space Adventures representatives told Space.com.

The trip will not go to ISS, but remain free-flying in orbit.

Essentially, Space Adventures, which flew all its previous space tourists on Russian Soyuz capsules and has two more such flights scheduled in 2021 to ISS, is now adding the American company SpaceX to its staple. This gives them two places they can buy flights, which gives them some bargaining room to get prices down.

This is exactly what I hoped would happen if NASA stopped building spacecraft and instead bought its rides from privately built and owned capsules. Owned by SpaceX and built for profit, crew Dragon is not limited to only serving NASA’s needs. They can sell it to others to make more money. Here they are doing so.

I also would not be surprised if SpaceX reuses the Dragon capsules used on NASA flights for these tourist flights. NASA doesn’t want reused capsules, yet, so SpaceX will be accumulating once-used capsules capable of flying again. I bet they will use them here.

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32 comments

  • pzatchok

    Now if they just had someplace to go to and stay in more style than that cramped capsule.

    Start with one bigalo module and add on as profits allow.

  • Pat Myers

    Hate to tell you, son, but your knowledge of space history is lacking. NASA has NEVER built any spacecraft of its own. Every spacecraft NASA has ever flown was designed and built by private companies. In no particular order, Boeing, McDonnell, Douglas, Grumman, North American Aviation, Martin, Lockheed, TRW, etc. To be sure, NASA was their customer, and the vehicles were built to the customer’s specifications (all hail Max Faget). But NASA did not build them. They ordered them built, just as they essentially are now with the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

    Oh, there is a nontrivial difference here. In the decade of the 1960s, NASA and their contractors managed to crank out and fly four operational manned spacecraft; Mercury, Gemini, Apollo CSM and the Lunar Module. Yet here we are today, been waiting 10 years for Boeing and SpaceX fly a couple of manned spacecraft, and they have not gotten past the unmanned test flight stage. We are STILL waiting. And the kicker is that they are fundamentally not doing ANYTHING that NASA and their contractors were doing 60 YEARS AGO. Hell, SpaceX is still dropping their vehicles in the drink, unable to recover them on dry land under rocket power, something the Russians have been doing since the 1960s. (I will give Boeing and Blue Origin this; at least they land their ships on the ground, even if they are using landing bags, a la Mercury, to do it.)

    Oh, there are reasons it’s taking them so long. One is NASA itself. They have a bad case of being so “risk averse” they are afraid to do much of anything. Can you imagine the NASA of today flying a mission like, say, Apollo 8? Don’t make me laugh. The other issue is a problem that exists across the board in aerospace these days. Both the CST-100 and Dragon 2.0 are so heavily automated that they are still debugging the millions of lines of code they built into the things. Strictly speaking, the pilots are really just passengers, as they have little more than computer screens to look at. You probably could not go to the bathroom on either of these craft with interfacing with the ship’s computer. This is all well and good…until something goes wrong with the onboard computers and the pilot is left with his (bleep) in his hand because there are no backup manual controls to fly the damn ship. If Neil Armstrong were still alive he could explain how that whole computer vs manual control thing works. So yeah, that’s slowing things down too.

    As for SpaceX flying private passengers into space, more power to ’em. So what is the hold up? Since they are essentially just going to fly automated pods into space, something they have been sending to the ISS now for the past few years, what are they waiting for? Nor are they going to the ISS; it is go up, hang out for a few days and come down. Again, what are they waiting for, aside from acquiring the guts to go ahead and fly the thing?

    Unlike the usual Elon fanboi crowd, and as someone who has been watching all this unfold for the past 60 years, I have to say I’m not all that impressed, and am really getting tired of waiting for them to start flying manned missions. When they do, come tell me something. Until then, meh…

  • Ray Van Dune

    Hopefully, Spacex will quickly transition from water landings to either net capture landings, like they are trying to perfect for fairing recovery, or better, propulsive landings like they originally planned, but which NASA nixed. Then there’s Starship / Superheavy, a 100% reusable clean-sheet-of-paper design, being self-funded by Spacex via Starlink, another clean sheet of paper communications design.

    Nothing new under the Sun?

  • Pat Myers wrote, “Hate to tell you, son…” Thank you Pat. It is so nice to be considered young again. :)

    On a superficial level, your criticism has some validity. In most (but certainly not all cases) NASA had private enterprise build things. On a more fundamental level however NASA owned everything it had built until the past decade, which meant they decided how things would be designed, how much they would cost, and how they would be used. That ownership meant that nothing had any resale value at all.

    Now the spacecraft and rockets that NASA buys are owned privately and can be sold privately to other customers besides NASA, and that is making all the difference.

  • Lee S

    I guess I would take it if offered, but 5 days in a crew dragon?????? With 3 or 4 other passengers???? There might be room to swing a very small kitten, but that’s about it! It might shatter some illusions about the reality of space flight. Peeing into a bag, and sleeping strapped down to your seat would totally be worth it for a man or woman of very modest means like myself, but for the bucks it’s going to cost, I think it’s going to take a Bigalow habitat before the Uber-rich fully embrace a 5 day trip to orbit.
    HOWEVER! Can you imagine the popularity of a LEO “bridal sweet”!!! … Bigalow knows what he’s doing, unfortunately he’s playing the long game, and even if it occurs in my life time, and I win big on the lottery, I’ll be too old to take advantage….
    But then again, in zero G… Who knows! ;-)

  • Lee S

    Sorry pzatchok, I meant to start with “regarding pzatchoks post”… Apologies!

  • James Street

    Virgin Galactic’s stock soars, fueled by retail investors
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc shares surged 24% on Tuesday, extending a rally since early December to over 400% and evoking a warning from an analyst who likes the space tourism company but warns it has become overbought.

  • sippin_bourbon

    “Unlike the usual Elon fanboi…”

    This says a lot.

    Being supportive of the efforts, or rejoicing in the successes, of one particular agency or even the man that owns the agency, does not make one a “fanboi”.
    The spelling choice you make is also deliberately insulting.

    I get the impression most here are fans of all the various commercial programs.
    When Musk launches a manned flight in May, I will cheer.
    When Blue Origin does, I will cheer them.
    When NASA finally does.. which ever plan the politicians decide to to, and they are lucky enough to accomplish it before there is a political change, and the money gets stopped again and then a new plan put forward and then that gets changed, but this plan, this one will work, and NASA finally squeezes it out, I will cheer that too.

    Starliner has coding errors discovered, and they are now under a full review.

    I am not aware of Dragon having such a problem. Please post a link to such info. I would be interested in seeing it.

    Overall though, automation is a good thing. If you disagree, don’t get on a modern airliner.
    Even single engine aircraft are getting more automated.
    It gives more, not less, to the person operating it. Proper training helps them see through the issues, and to mitigate them.

    Even in the 60’s with the relatively simple flight computers that Apollo had, it was still “Garbage in, Garbage out”. Read up on when Jim Lovell accidentally reset the flight computer when returning from the moon on Apollo 8.

  • Pat Myers

    Mr. Bourbon, I’m just going to say one thing…737-MAX. As someone who spent 40 years in IT, I can say that, yes, automation can be a fine thing. But there are times when you should not rely on it too much. Ask Airbus, who made their share of smoking holes in the ground with their computer controlled aircraft. And I’m still trying to figure out why on an aircraft like the 737 MAX, which given its application (transport), should be an inherently stable platform, you need computers to help fly the thing. instead Boeing is looking at a screwup of monumental proportions, which they STILL have not been able to correct.

    As for Lovell on Apollo 8 and the onboard computer, we had an old saying in the business, “To err is human, but to really [deleted] up requires a computer”. And he was not the only one to hit the wrong switch back then. Remember the computer “executive overflow” alarms during the descent to the Moon on Apollo 11? All because Aldrin left the LM’s rendezvous radar on and so overloaded the onboard computer. But thing like that (hitting the wrong key, wrong switch position) have always happened and always will. If you are that worried about it, you might as well stay home.

  • Edward

    Ray Van Dune,
    SpaceX probably will not do much to improve Crew Dragon, because they intend to replace it, soon, with Starship.

    Pat Myers,
    You wrote: “Yet here we are today, been waiting 10 years for Boeing and SpaceX fly a couple of manned spacecraft

    Hate to tell you, son, but your knowledge of space history is lacking.

    Boeing and SpaceX were awarded their contracts in September of 2014. We have been waiting less than 5-1/2 years for them to fly their own manned spacecraft, designed, built, owned, and operated by them. As we now see, these two companies are free to use their own manned spacecraft for purposes other than NASA transportation, and that is a huge difference that makes the future of space exploration as bright as we thought it was half a century ago.

    No longer do we depend upon NASA and various governments to do things in space, as we did when only NASA and other government space programs were the sole owners and operators of all manned spacecraft and all unmanned exploration spacecraft. We are finally free to make our own dreams come true, big (space stations) or small (5-day ride on orbit in a cramped capsule). Because we were free to try new rocket technologies, we have launch vehicles that are less expensive to operate and are developing even better, cheaper launch vehicles and spacecraft.

    In the decade of the 1960s, NASA and their contractors managed to crank out and fly four operational manned spacecraft; Mercury, Gemini, Apollo CSM and the Lunar Module.

    So, let me get this straight. The government — with its tremendous resources — takes from July 1960 to October 1968 to fly its first manned Apollo, and you are complaining that two companies — with seriously limited resources — are taking two fewer years in order to build two spacecraft similar to Apollo’s command/service module?

    I would hate to compare NASA’s recent performance to that of these two companies, because it would be embarrassing to point out that NASA is no longer capable of such developmental speed, where Orion is in its fifteenth year from contract award (17th year from proposal), and first manned flight is still to be determined, though it will be no sooner than next year.

    Oh, there are reasons it’s taking [Boeing and SpaceX] so long. One is NASA itself. [NASA has] a bad case of being so ‘risk averse’ they are afraid to do much of anything.

    Son, NASA is slipping. I blame Congress for poor budget management, lousy vision for NASA, and a complete lack of willingness to use NASA, its workforce, and its vendors to best advantage. I also blame the previous president for leaving NASA adrift with abundant strategic confusion.

    I don’t think that NASA is as risk averse and Congress is. When something goes wrong, Congress gets all bent out of shape and spanks NASA. NASA is less risk averse and more spank averse. In an industry where risk is necessary, Congress is unwilling to accept the consequences of those risks.

    SpaceX is still dropping their [space] vehicles in the drink, unable to recover them on dry land under rocket power, something the Russians have been doing since the 1960s

    First, the Russians are recovering them under parachutes, with rockets to cushion the blow, not to power the landing. Second, the Russians and NASA still cannot reuse their space vehicles (the Shuttle is gone, son), and SpaceX and Boeing (plus Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada) can.

    As for SpaceX flying private passengers into space … what are they waiting for, aside from acquiring the guts to go ahead and fly the thing?

    Son, you are having difficulty distinguishing between a developmental spacecraft and an operational spacecraft. Do you really think that Boeing should fly passenger service on the very first manned flight of a new aircraft? This is what you are essentially saying that Boeing and SpaceX should do with their manned spacecraft, that the checkout flight, where everything is tested, should be a tourist flight, where the tourists expect everything to already be tested, shaken out, and proved.

    Unlike the usual Elon fanboi crowd … Until then, meh…

    Oh, the irony, son. In just under two decades, Bigelow, Blue Origin, Boeing, Orbital Sciences (now part of Northrup Grumman), Scaled Composites, Sierra Nevada, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic have made you expect that the fledgling commercial space industry should be more capable than national space programs that have half a century of experience and their nations’s entire resources. Then you have the gonads to suggest that it is unreasonable to credit Diamandis, Rutan, Bigelow, Bezos, Musk, Branson, Fatih and Eren Ozmen, and Beck (chronological, or close to it) for their visions, innovations, and dedication to their mission of commercializing space.

    Why did you single out Musk? Could it be that his philosophy of rapid development of new technologies has allowed his company to do more innovation than any of the other Newspace companies? Or maybe because his company has effected a paradigm change to the launch market, creating a disruption that had been desired by launch customers but never achieved by other launch providers? Or is it because he makes it all look so easy that expectations are raised that SpaceX should be able to do it even faster?

    How quickly those not in the industry are jaded to the difficulties in making spacecraft work safely, much less making improvements that the governments thought were impossible or were unwilling to try. Those of us who appreciate the people I mentioned, above, are mocked and chided for acknowledging that they are different and have changed the world.

    What a better world we live on when the government stops building and operating all the rockets and we are free to compete, improve, and profit from our own efforts, not the government’s limited efforts. What an even better world it will be when the government stops being the primary customer of these efforts.

  • Pat Myers: Be careful. In this comment you get very close to breaking my no obscenity rules.. And just adding a few astericks is not sufficient.

    You are new here so you get a warning. Next time I ban you for a week.

  • Edward

    All because Aldrin left the LM’s rendezvous radar on and so overloaded the onboard computer.

    That was not Aldrin’s error. The procedures specified that the switch be in that position. That was a problem with planning and testing, in that the difficulties associated with it were not discovered prior to flight, but the mission planners thought that having the rendezvous radar active would be good preparation in the case of an abort. In addition, it was Aldrin who figured out how to avoid the alarm, inventing a workaround during the actual landing.

  • Pat Myers

    Robert, while NASA was (and still is for a lot of this) the customer, and specified what was to be built and how, I can’t think of a single thing, certainly past the very earliest stages of the space program, that NASA itself built. As far as I know, everything was contracted out to outside vendors.

    And no, they did not set the cost. It’s a bit more complicated than that, thanks to the FARs (Federal Acquisition Regulations). These are rules, set down by Congress, that specify what you have to do, what steps and processes to follow, if you are going to sell anything to the government. The origins of these rules go back to the Civil War. It is these rules that get you $50,000 hammers, and million dollar toilet seats on bombers, etc, etc.

    Indeed, everyone makes a big to do about how SpaceX was able to undercut the “legacy” contractors like ULA for launch services to NASA and the like. You know how Musk did it? He cut a deal with the government allowing him to bypass a lot of the FARs, which saved him a hell of a lot of money, and made it possible to provide launch services a lot cheaper.

    And yes, I think Musk earned that. He and his crew went out to Kwajalein Atoll and tested the Merlin rocket. They made a hell of a lot of BFRCs in the process, but they worked the bugs out, figured out how to make it fly, and it does (with only the rare failure). Then Musk cut that deal with the government to provide launch services while bypassing a lot of the FAR hoops he otherwise would have had to jump through.

    And that is how SpaceX was able to fly for the Feds as cheaply as they did. To be sure, ULA has not gotten their prices down to SpaceX’s level. But what they do have is….they are not SpaceX. (For any mission critical task you NEVER rely on a sole source provider.) And ULA has a proven record of mission success. So they are not going anywhere, and it’s why NASA and the Air Force still buy launch services from ULA and not just SpaceX, even if they are a bit pricier.

    Example; remember a couple years ago SpaceX had a launch failure (second stage failure)? Bam, SpaceX is grounded for several months until they figured out what the problem was and corrected it. Had SpaceX been their only provider, NASA and the Air Force would have been up the creek. But ULA was still there, so if they had any hot payloads to launch, ULA was ready to go with their Atlases and Deltas. That’s how it works. At least when you are dealing with the government.

    Moral to the story is, in terms of cost, it is VERY complicated, and NASA has never simply “set the price”. And yes, the vendors, whether its SpaceX, ULA, or whomever, they have to make some money in order to stay in business, so as to be available to sell to the government in the first place. If there is any “price setting” it is there, the vendors telling the government what they have to be paid in order to stay in business. Yeah, they have to prove it, but that is how it works.

  • Pat Myers

    Edward, re the rendezvous radar, that is not what Aldrin says. I’ll take his word for it over yours, given that he was there. And oh yeah, Commercial Crew began development back in 2010. The work started then, not in 2014. But I don’t expect you to understand the difference between engineering and development work and the simple letting of a contract. We are done here.

  • Pat Myers

    Sorry Robert. I will be more careful in future.

  • Pat Myers: Thank you. Apology accepted. I should add that my other rule outlaws insults. I should tell you that you have also skirted the edge here as well. Be warned, and more polite.

    Your comments have been interesting. You also should know that you are talking to people who know as much if not more than you. Treat them with respect as you try to illuminate them with what you know. You yourself might learn something.

  • sippin_bourbon

    re: the 737 fiasco.

    I stated before:
    Proper training helps them see through the issues, and to mitigate them.
    There was actually a training step that addressed this.
    If they bothered to push it. It came up in the post crash analysis of the second crash.

    Do I think that software intervention to maintain a stable, balanced flight condition is a good idea? Of course not.
    But every modern airliner has a high degree of automation. 737-max went above and beyond, and as a result went down in flames.

    There have been several discussions on this, and the Starliner coding issues and the shakeup and Boeing as a result.

    But no space craft today is gonna fly without automation.

  • Edward

    Pat Myers,
    Son, you wrote to an aerospace engineer who designed, developed, built, and tested spaceflight hardware at the instrumentation level and the spacecraft level: “But I don’t expect you to understand the difference between engineering and development work and the simple letting of a contract.

    The 2010 contract awards were for conceptual work. Oh, and guess which company didn’t receive a contract in 2010. So … SpaceX didn’t even have the ten-year development time that you think they had.

    If you really want to go back to the beginning, then you would have to start at the time that President Bush first decided to go with the idea of commercial cargo transport, and if that worked then extend to commercial manned transportation. So, really, you have been waiting since 2004. You just don’t know it.

    As for Aldrin:
    First, I am glad that I don’t fly on the planes that you build, since you don’t accept post-problem analyses and corrective actions. At the time, all Aldrin knew was that when he followed the procedure and switched the rendezvous radar to SLEW, the computer complained.

    According to Aldrin, he stopped following the procedure and stopped switching to SLEW mode. Since that was specified by the procedure, it was by definition the correct switch position, not the wrong one. Corrective actions were taken to prevent this problem on future flights.

    Second, here is a more detailed explanation of the problem:
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07/no-a-checklist-error-did-not-almost-derail-the-first-moon-landing/

    Activating the rendezvous radar during landing—which, again, would lessen the workload on the crew in the event of an abort, because the system they’d need to use to find Columbia would already be operational—was not at all a “checklist error.” This was established procedure.

    Third, the Ars Technica article recommends the book “How Apollo Flew To The Moon,” by David Woods, and at least one other book. I’ve read and recommend the Woods book, as it details many aspects of an Apollo flight. The Apollo Guidance Computer and the Display and Keyboard (DSKY) are two other fascinating topics.

    One of the most fascinating things about Apollo is that the maneuvers were calculated using big computers on the ground, and a shockingly small amount of numbers were radioed up to the Command or Lunar Module and entered manually into the Guidance Computer through the DSKY (pronounced “dis-key”), and these numbers were all that were needed for the computer to perform each maneuver.

    Gotta give the guys at MIT a lot of credit for making Apollo work!

  • sippin_bourbon

    re: the 1202 error.
    “He [ Jack Garman] realized that the 1202 was a code meaning that the guidance computer on-board the landing craft was getting overloaded with tasks. The programmers had anticipated this overloading might someday occur, and so had established a system internal aspect that would automatically do a fast reboot and then a memory restore to try and get the computer back underway.

    In theory, the computer was going to be able to resolve the error, without needing any human intervention. Garman said afterward that he figured if the 1202 error code didn’t recur frequently during the rest of the descent, the astronauts were probably okay to proceed in spite of whatever was seemingly overloading the onboard computer system.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/2019/07/16/apollo-11s-infamous-landing-error-code-1202-offers-earthly-lessons-for-self-driving-cars/#698e406834bc

    This shows the brilliance of coders back in the day. Essentially self recovering errors.
    Its a far cry from the BSOD.

    (BSOD = Blue Screen Of Death for the non-geeks that might read this).

    *note: geek is not a bad word, says me, a self defined geek.

  • sippin_bourbon

    “One of the most fascinating things about Apollo is that the maneuvers were calculated using big computers on the ground, and a shockingly small amount of numbers were radioed up to the Command or Lunar Module and entered manually into the Guidance Computer through the DSKY (pronounced “dis-key”), and these numbers were all that were needed for the computer to perform each maneuver.

    Gotta give the guys at MIT a lot of credit for making Apollo work!”

    Ralk about a reduced instruction set!
    Oh mama!

  • sippin_bourbon

    Pat said:

    “We are done here.”

    That’s ashame.
    I enjoy lively, if respectful conversation.
    Sadly, most of the interwebs lacks this.

  • Edward: I can understand how Pat Myers might have irritated you, but try to tone it back a bit. Insults don’t work to convince anyone of anything.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Edward
    “So, let me get this straight. The government — with its tremendous resources — takes from July 1960 to October 1968 to fly its first manned Apollo, and you are complaining that two companies — with seriously limited resources — are taking two fewer years in order to build two spacecraft similar to Apollo’s command/service module?”

    Actually, I think these are much further advanced than Apollo.
    Not just larger in size, but also complexity.

    I do agree with Pat regarding the Dragon designers deciding to forgo ground landings as opposed to splash downs.

    This negates some of the re-usability which is was the HUGE leap that SpaceX brought to the game.

    However, while NASA may choose not to reuse a Dragon capsule that landed in salt water, I am thinking that that craft, essentially paid for at that point, would be re-used for commercial passengers.
    Thus still earning income.

    And, assuming this is done successfully a few times, NASA may re-visit the decision.

    If not successfully.. well, that could be a problem for Mr Musk.

  • wayne

    “Computer for Apollo”
    John Fitch
    https://youtu.be/YIBhPsyYCiM
    29:05

  • Patrick Underwood

    SpaceX fully intended to do propulsive land landings with Crew Dragon. They said to heck with it when NASA made the certification and paperwork regime too onerous to deal with. So they have moved on and now are building (right now) a fully reusable rocket that will dwarf the Saturn V.

    Anyone who comes to a site like this and presumes to lecture the site owner does not earn any respect in my book. Not having the clear-sightedness to recognize that SpaceX has both rejuvenated and upended the space industry, and using the insulting term “fanboi” in an initial post, further decreases the probability that I will pay attention when this guy blesses us with his opinions. It’s like the youngster who popped up on NSF and replied to an old Atlas engineer’s post with “Okay boomer.” Where do these people come from, who are so lacking in tact and thoughtfulness, and so overflowing with self-satisfied and self-unaware arrogance ?

  • pzatchok

    I do believe that Space X’s first recovered Falcon 9 was landed on dry land. December 2010.

    After several unsuccessful tries at landing on the barge the finally proved they could land one perfectly by switching to dry land.
    “LZ-1 the Falcon has landed”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANv5UfZsvZQ

    they land on barges for more than just one reason. First it was NASA’s request for safety. Second its for fuel usage. It would take a small bit of extra fuel to come back all the way to launch point. Fuel that could be better used for orbital insertion of the cargo.

    As for manned flight. NASA is the prime contractor for a manned capsule from Space X so they set the pace and requirements.
    After they are taken care of, private customers will be better prepared and satisfied that Space X can provide a safe ride.

    As for Musk re-using the manned Dragons.
    He could possibly remove all the electronics and sell them to anyone around the world.
    With the electronics he could sell them to any American launch company.
    He would obviously have to provide the power and life support trunk also.
    How many other launchers could fit the dragon on top?

  • pzatchok: I am continually puzzled why more of my regular readers don’t use this webpage as a resource. A quick search on BtB using the words “Falcon 9 first vertical landing” immediately got me the date when SpaceX first landed its first stage vertically. See: my post: The coming bright age on December 22, 2015.

    More significant, Musk announced he was going to try this in a speech in September 2011. That meant it took SpaceX only a little over four years to make it happen. Compare that to the build times for all of NASA’s projects.

  • pzatchok

    I will have to learn how to search this web site.

    And then remember to do it.

  • Chris

    Pat Myers – if “We are done here” is true, it’s your loss..
    As you can see there’s a out of true experience here. You can really learn a lot and have have good debate. However Grasshopper, if you run in with over the top confidence and unchecked statements – the blind priest will set you on your can.

  • Lee S

    I can only agree with the above sentiments…
    Pat Myers, while I mostly enjoy “discussing” the difference between our relative politics, the real joy of this site is the in depth reporting of all things space related by our host, and the discussion between people mostly way more knowledgeable than myself.
    I have been banned myself once, I got a little carried away and was blocked for a short time… Bob accepted my apologies, I learned to bite my tongue more, and we all went about our day.
    Stay and interact.. argue your butt off, ( heaven knows… I’ve done enough here!), Just with a civil tongue. It’s fun and you might even learn something new!

  • pzatchok: I have put two search boxes on the webpage, both in the right column, at the top and at the bottom. On a mobile phone the bottom search box is at the bottom of the page, making it very easy to find.

  • Edward

    sippin_bourbon wrote: “I do agree with Pat regarding the Dragon designers deciding to forgo ground landings as opposed to splash downs. This negates some of the re-usability which is was the HUGE leap that SpaceX brought to the game.

    Because Starship is supposed to be operational in a few years, I do not expect SpaceX to make Dragon or Crew Dragon to come down on land. Starship will make the Dragons obsolete, unless it is unable to dock at ISS or other stations.

    As Patrick Underwood noted, SpaceX originally intended propulsive landings for Crew Dragon. However, the best laid plans of mice and spacemen oft go away due to NASA concerns, a bit of a problem when there is only one customer. The cargo Dragon is already approved by NASA for reuse after water landings, so the water landing is not necessarily a showstopper for reusability, but water landing is a disappointment for many, including those wishing to get their experimental results into the lab sooner rather than later. Despite the setback with Dragon’s powered landings, Starship promises another huge leap forward for space exploration.

    One of the benefits that Dream Chaser will have is landing on a runway, so the recovery crews have immediate access rather than having to chase through a desert to reach a returning Soyuz or Starliner. Bypassing an incremental evolutionary change in Dragon for the revolutionary change with Starship should be worth avoiding the cost of the distraction that the incremental change to Dragon would have.

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