February 11, 2011
SpaceX Displays Dragon Spacecraft In Washington D.C.
SpaceX displayed its Dragon space craft in Washington D.C. on Thursday, showing off its marks from the trip it took to orbit in December.
The capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and in a seamless first practice run was able to enter orbit and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere without a glitch.
"Luckily, I had nothing to worry about," former NASA astronaut Ken Bowersox, who is now vice president of astronaut safety at SpaceX, said in a statement. "Now we just want everyone to get to enjoy it as much as we do."
The space capsule was being displayed in a white tent adjacent to the Tesla showroom, where electric cars travel from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds were being shown off under the theme "American innovation."
The Dragon will eventually be moved and permanently put on display in California, and its design will be adapted for an upcoming mission to carry cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA signed a $1.6 billion contract with SpaceX in December 2008 under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program in order to provide 12 spacecraft with cargo capacity of at least 20 tons to resupply the ISS through 2016.
President Barack Obama hopes the private sector will fill the gap once the space shuttle fleet is retired later this year, and before a new generation of spacecraft is developed.
Image Caption: SpaceX DragonLabÃ¢“¢ - a free-flying, fully-recoverable, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads. Credit: SpaceX
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