A new craft has been unveiled that designers claim will “revolutionise access to space”.
Dubbed Dragon V2, the new capsule will be able to carry seven astronauts and is able to set down anywhere on land “with the accuracy of a helicopter”.
It was unveiled by SpaceX founder Elon Musk who said: “”This is extremely important for revolutionising access to space because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and space crafts, we will never truly have access to space it’ll always be incredibly expensive.”
Musk said the latest technology will enable rapid reloading and reusability of the spacecraft compared to past rockets that returned to Earth in a fireball, rendering them unusable.
SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp, has already made four unmanned cargo flights to the International Space Station (ISS).
In April the company’s Dragon capsule splashed into the Pacific, returning nearly two tonnes of science experiments and old equipment.
Since the shuttle fleet retired in 2011, Nasa has used Russian rockets to transport astronauts to the ISS and back, paying nearly 42m per seat ($71m).
The space agency wants US companies to take on the role by 2017 and has been funding a number of projects.
Companies competing for the right to ferry station astronauts need to design a spacecraft that can seat a crew of four or more and be equipped with life support systems and an escape hatch in case of emergency.
30 May 2014 | 5:41 am – Source: orange.co.uk