SpaceX Dragon To Land On Any Planet

The upcoming SpaceX Dragon will be able to land on any planet in the solar system - any planet with a solid surface, that is.

The Congressionally mandated award is part of the agency's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative that started in 2009 to help private companies mature concepts and technologies for human spaceflight.

This award will accelerate SpaceX’s efforts to develop the next-generation rockets and spacecraft for human transportation. With NASA’s support, SpaceX will be ready to fly its first manned mission in 2014.

The United States has a critical need for American commercial human spaceflight. After the space shuttle retires in a few months, NASA will be totally dependent on the Russian Soyuz to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) at a cost of $63 million per seat.

Dragon [is] designed to carry seven astronauts at a time to the Space Station at a cost of $20 million a seat.


(Space X Dragon video)

SpaceX's integrated escape system will be superior to traditional solid rocket tractor escape towers used by other vehicles in the past. Due to their extreme weight, tractor systems are jettisoned within minutes of liftoff to improve performance as the rocket climbs through the atmosphere, but the SpaceX innovative design builds the escape engines into the side walls of Dragon, eliminating the danger of releasing a heavy solid rocket escape tower after launch.

The integrated abort system will also provide a way to escape from the second stage of the booster throughout the climb to orbit, while allowing Dragon to carry more weight to orbit than if a tower-based system was used.

The SpaceX design also provides crew with emergency escape capability throughout the entire flight, whereas the space shuttle has no escape system. The result is that astronauts flying on Dragon will be considerably safer.

The integrated escape system returns with the spacecraft, allowing for easy reuse and radical reductions in the cost of space transport. Over time, the same escape thrusters will also provide the capability for Dragon to land almost anywhere on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.

I'd like to note that it appears that the SpaceX Dragon will be able to land "on its fins" and then take off again, which any self-respecting space craft should be able to do.

Secondly, I thought I'd mention that this private space craft that can easily take off and then land back on a planetary surface sounds a lot like science fictional space craft like the Joy-boat Junior from Robert Heinlein's 1941 classic Methuselah's Children. In that novel, wealthy individuals owned space craft in the same way that wealthy individuals today own Lear jets.

From SpaceX.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/23/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Spacecraft ")

Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
'the overstrained meters made the smaller craft skittish as a young horse...' - Robert Heinlein

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.

SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.

Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Pegasus, Nvidia Supercomputer For Autonomous Driving
'...a 2045 convertible with a Hennis-Carleton positronic motor and an Armat chassis.'

Loihi Chip Mimics Human Brain's Neurons And Synapses
'You can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit... and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation...'

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.