Photo: Dragon V2
U.S. private company SpaceX unveiled its new spacecraft Dragon V2, created so that NASA can again transport astronauts to such destinations as the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, revealed Dragon V2’s characteristics during a press conference at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
NASA has turned to the private sector to develop craft to replace the space shuttle, retired in 2011.
Since the end of the shuttle program, crews traveling to and from the ISS have had to rely on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.
Every time one of its astronauts travels in a Soyuz, the United States pays Russia $71 million.
To scuttle this dependency, starting in 2017 the United States wants its astronauts able to travel in new spacecraft made in this country and manufactured by private space companies like Space X.
The Dragon V2 has a capacity for transporting a maximum of seven astronauts and was described by Musk as a “really a big leap forward in technology.”