Commercial space flights are getting closer and closer. The company SpaceX has taken another step in its project of trips to Mars. This December 6, they have launched a new crew and cargo capsule to the International Space Station.
This event is another chapter in the alliance between this company and NASA. If you are interested in the future of space travel, you should not lose sight of what these two institutions do.
SpaceX and Elon Musk
The controversial Elon Musk has recently become the second richest man in the world. This physicist and executive began his fortune as one of the founders of PayPal; however, his big break came with Tesla Motors and SpaceX.
After revolutionizing the automotive industry with Tesla Motors’ electric vehicles, SpaceX is set to power the first commercial flights off planet Earth. What we have seen in science fiction movies for years is about to materialize.
Elon Musk has said that he will send humans to Mars in 2026. SpaceX has been meeting the goals he announced ten years ago. It seems that his plans to create a self-sufficient civilization on the red planet are about to be fulfilled.
The next big step is to send an unmanned vehicle to Mars in 2 years. Or at least these are the projections the South African and North American businessmen told the press in recent days.
The Dragon 2 Capsule
This vehicle is a redesign of the Crew Dragon with which the company SpaceX has already taken two astronauts to the International Space Station without mishaps. With these new changes, the capsule now has a greater cargo capacity. They say it can carry 20 percent more volume and 50 percent more weight.
Dragon 2 is the first capsule capable of connecting to the International Space Station automatically. This version does not need any human assistance to fit. Besides, it can make up to five trips and can stay at the station twice as long as the previous spacecraft.
The launch of Dragon 2
After being reprogrammed for weather precautions, the launch finally took place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this December 6 at 11:17 AM ET.
The company used Falcon 9 for the mission, a rocket that has flown three times before. It is the same one where the astronauts traveled in May of this year. Dragon 2 should be joining the International Space Station on the afternoon of December 7.
The vehicle carries around 6,553 pounds of equipment and supplies for scientific research to the crewmembers of the station. The SpaceX CRS-21 mission has to transport, specifically, science investigations, vehicle hardware, spacewalk equipment, computer resources, Russian hardware, and an external payload.
This flight was the first after the renewal of SpaceX’s contract with NASA to collaborate in its Commercial Resupply Services missions. The main business between these two organizations.
This collaboration is good news for the expansion plans of both NASA and Elon Musk’s company. Everything indicates that commercial space flights and the colonization of Mars are almost a reality.