As much as I’m still disappointed that our own government doesn’t really seem to have very good plans for space exploration in the future right now, this announcement of the first private spacecraft to visit the ISS next month is still kind of cool…

SpaceX Plans Historic First Flight on May 7
http://news.yahoo.com/spacex-plans-historic-first-flight-may-7-032605200.html

Admittedly I didn’t realize on the first pass that this is a cargo-only mission – no astronauts will be traveling in the Dragon at this point, but the plan is essentially to carry 1,149 pounds of space stuff up to the six astronauts currently in residence at the ISS. The capsule itself has a much different look than we’re used to from the traditional space shuttles, so it’ll be interesting to see what it actually looks like on the inside once it’s actually ready to haul both cargo and crew … maybe more closely resembling sort of a Space Taxi than the shuttle was!

So I guess that would make this version a Space UPS or something???  😉

It still seems a little weird to now see private industry taking over what NASA has driven thus far, although the more I read into things apparently private companies have been used to toss satellites into space – both their own and for government agencies that don’t have the means themselves – for a while, so hopefully this will still somehow turn into a step in the right direction and the end result will be more space stuff coupled with the assumptions that private entities should be able to simply do things faster and cheaper than our government has in the past. I’m already finding a lot of really interesting info on SpaceX’s website and they seem pretty enthused about the whole project, so I suppose if this is the future of space flight and at least it means that we’ll still be doing something other than arguing about whether NASA is even a good investment, then I guess I just need to accept the past for what it is and instead learn to embrace the next step into the final frontier.  8)

Seriously, though – some of this stuff does look pretty freaking sweet. Maybe space tourism actually is closer than we think!

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