Elon Musk has debuted his new reusable spacecraft built by his company, Space X. The coned space capsule is called the Dragon V2, and is the updated version of his reusable Dragon cargo ship. It can hold up to seven astronauts, and is designed to bring them to outer space and back, landing under its own power instead of dumping into the ocean, the way older capsules do.
SpaceX is in competition with several companies to create "taxis" for NASA as a replacement solution for the retired Space Shuttle program.
Those new space taxis will replace the retired shuttle fleet and would mean that NASA no longer has to use Russian rockets and capsules to get their astronauts to space. Russia has been charging about $71 million per seat filled; a brutal cost. Also, Russia isn't exactly thrilled about the partnership lately either, and suggested the U.S. use trampolines to get to space because of recent sanctions.
SpaceX has already made four cargo trips 200 miles above Earth, with the first version of the Dragon. The new Dragon V2 is fully equipped to carry humans and cargo, so it was a major development for space travel and in the taxi race.
"You can just reload, propel it and fly again," said Musk, "This is extremely important for revolutionizing 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."
It looks like this venture is going much better for Musk than Tesla.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.