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SpaceX Is One Step Closer To Manned Flight Capability

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DragonBack in 2009, NASA began the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), designed to promote private sector development of human spaceflight. The eventual goal is to jumpstart a spaceflight industry capable of taking tourists and government astronauts into space. The program’s focus is on crew transportation system designs, an important first step in the development of a commercial industry which is predicted to deliver cheap, reliable, and more efficient transportation of space-going folks into Low-Earth Orbit. In 2012, NASA received proposals from companies committed to working on fully developed and integrated crew transportation systems. SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada Corporation were among those that received funding after a NASA evaluation, and are now expected to meet 15 milestones on the way to realizing their privatized human spaceflight plans. SpaceX just reached, and passed, the eighth milestone—a review of its in-flight abort procedures.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft made its first manned test flight in December 2010, and a few years later became the first commercial vessel to dock with the ISS. Dragon is partially reusable, and will be sent into space by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The recent review focused on the craft’s SuperDraco engines, the software that controls the abort procedure, and the communication between the Dragon and the Falcon 9.

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Fire-Breathing Dragon Robot Breaks Records And Takes Names

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TradinnoCan I just write the words “holy shit!” and let the picture speak for itself?

No?

Well, then let me take a minute to bow to the greatness of this robot beast. If Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons turn out like this, she’s set forever. Right now, this one makes them look cute and cuddly. I’m also pretty sure this robot would scare the crap out of DARPA’s Atlas robot.

The giant mecha named Tradinno (part tradition, part innovation) is 30 feet tall, 51 feet long, and weighs 11 tons Yeah, that’s like six of me put together. If I’m not riding the thing through the skies, I’m probably going to hide behind a mountain and hope it doesn’t decide to torch me. And Tradinno is decorated — it recently won the Guinness world record for largest walking robot. It goes without saying, then, that it’s the largest fire-breathing robot too, which is a class all its own.

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See SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule Fly Under The International Space Station

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On Tuesday SpaceX began its historic mission to be the first privately organization to send a capsule the the International Space Station with the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Dragon orbital capsule. Dragon is up there now, orbiting the planet and being put through its paces as a prelude leading up to its connection with the ISS.

So far the test flight has gone perfectly and tomorrow will be the big day when Dragon will perform a loop of the International Space Station before attempting to rendezvous with our permanently orbiting satellite to deliver supplies (and James Doohan’s ashes) to the waiting astronaut crew.

Right now it’s orbiting beneath the station though and they can see it out their window. The following video shows a very, very tiny Dragon off in the distance passing below the ISS…