This is apparently from last week, but it’s almost the holiday weekend, so it’s a good time for a glimmer of hope about our scientific future. NASA ordered a manned mission to the ISS from Space X, meaning between Elon Musk’s group and Boeing (who are sending a Starliner up in 2017 also), we’re going to be putting people into space ourselves again in two years. From NASA’s press release:
“The authority to proceed with Dragon’s first operational crew mission is a significant milestone in the Commercial Crew Program and a great source of pride for the entire SpaceX team,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. “When Crew Dragon takes NASA astronauts to the space station in 2017, they will be riding in one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown. We’re honored to be developing this capability for NASA and our country.”
Commercial crew launches will reduce the cost, per seat, of transporting NASA astronauts to the space station compared to what the agency must pay the Russian Federal Space Agency for the same service. If, however, NASA does not receive the full requested funding for CCtCap contracts in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, the agency will be forced to delay future milestones for both U.S. companies and continue its sole reliance on Russia to transport American astronauts to the space station.
Emphasis mine. I like this because the benefits of space travel on human society have been immeasurable and revolutionary, and I certainly hope that the funding stays there for as long as NASA needs it. Now that that’s out of the way, you wanna see a rocket go off?