Elon Musk | Science | Space

ISS Crew Meets The Dragon: VIDEO

SpaceXISS

A moment of minor historic import passed with little fanfare yesterday, when for the first time in the history of our species human beings exited a government space vehicle and entered a private one. This was the crew of the International Space Station entereing the Dragon resupply, designed, built, and launched by Elon Musk's SpaceX. 

Watching the video below, I was struck by the technical mastery required merely to get the capsule to adhere, sealed, to the side of the space station. How would one go about that? And watching astronauts open it, I wondered: What did it feel like? Was it cold from having been rushing so recently through the near-void? Was it hot? Was it vibrating? Were the astronauts nervous, leaving the comfort of their government-built capsule and floating into this thing designed by a crazy South African in Cali?

Wild stuff. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

 

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Comments

  1. Cool stuff! Happy to see the private sector have proven they can do this and at a fraction of the cost - congrats to them!

    Posted by: John | May 27, 2012 9:12:15 AM


  2. Alternate video here:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070034/

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | May 27, 2012 9:45:55 AM


  3. It's the government part that would scare me.

    PS Anyone else liking those short shorts?

    Posted by: Terry | May 27, 2012 11:42:40 AM


  4. Ah, yes, private sector. Never take risks with human life. Never have any quality control problems. Never have to recall products. No bugs, not ever. Never hire the lowest-cost worker. Make sure you only purchase cars produced Monday morning because you don't believe what the statistics say. But then, your car has never NOT started when you most needed it.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 27, 2012 11:44:04 AM


  5. Actually I've had my current car for about five years now and its never failed to start. I happen to agree with your point though the private sector makes me nervous.

    Posted by: Kas | May 27, 2012 12:13:48 PM


  6. Anyone concerned about "the private sector" aspect should look again. The US Government didn't build any of the shuttles, nor the shuttle program. These were, like everything from government buildings to battleships, tendered out to private enterprise. They just have government oversight. And in a big way so did the SpaceX program. NASA oversaw their procedures and I'm sure checked all their sums.

    Further more, failure by a government contractor rarely sees any financial retribution, rather they request more money from the government to fix the problem. I doubt the same will be so from a purely non-government operation, for whom, one costly mistake will see their business disappear.

    Consider too that with the commentor's car analogy. Hudreds of thousands of cars are pushed from production lines with many variables and variations along the way, there is a lot more room for error with each iteration. In terms of SpaceX and other projects like James Cameron's deep sea vehicle these are extremely well controlled operations.

    I'd go for the purely commercial operator any day over a tendered government job. They have a lot more at stake should failure occurr.

    And I whole heartedly disagree that this was of "minor historic import"; this was massive. That it had so little fanfair was kind of sad.

    Posted by: Tyroga | May 27, 2012 12:34:24 PM


  7. Shortly after the hatches between the ISS's Harmony node and the Dragon spacecraft were opened at 5:53 am EDT, astronauts ventured in for the first time.

    "Like the smell of a brand new car", remarked astronaut Don Pettit, who on Friday was the one who reached out with the station's robotic arm and snared the Dragon as it approached the research outpost.

    http://news.discovery.com/space/astronauts-spacex-120526.html

    Posted by: Hotter Perry | May 27, 2012 12:49:13 PM


  8. This is how billionaires should spend their money.

    There is one product that is made entirely by govt. workers: nuclear bombs.

    Posted by: anon | May 27, 2012 12:51:37 PM


  9. For answers on what the astronauts go through and what it feels for them I recommend the very well and humorously written "Packing for Mars" by Mary Roach.
    She handles all the dry, technical aspects of space travel with wit and grace.

    Posted by: Rob | May 27, 2012 5:00:50 PM


  10. "Ah, yes, private sector. Never take risks with human life. Never have any quality control problems. Never have to recall products. No bugs, not ever."

    That's a ridiculous standard. It is impossible to manufacture anything without the risk of breakdown. We can mitigate risk, but that's it.

    That's why the private sector is an inherently better choice when it comes to manufacture. Tort law encourages companies to manufacture something to the utmost standard while allowing for substantive penalties when the standard of care is not met. Air travel is far safer than automobile travel not only because the level of engineering expertise required to make an aircraft operate, but because the potential liability is too catastrophic otherwise.

    "Never hire the lowest-cost worker."

    Companies hire the lower-cost worker to reduce their costs, so they can sell their products at a marketable price. Unless consumers express an active desire to pay more - and they never do - then it's in the company's best interest to seek the lowest-cost worker who can perform the job.

    This was an achievement, and it may one day be more than a minor accomplishment - it may be a significant turning point in human history, on par with the moon landing.

    Posted by: Nat | May 27, 2012 5:58:29 PM


  11. "Further more, failure by a government contractor rarely sees any financial retribution, rather they request more money from the government to fix the problem. I doubt the same will be so from a purely non-government operation, for whom, one costly mistake will see their business disappear."

    It's an elementary concept, but some people seem to have significant issues in grasping the concept of incentives.

    Posted by: Nat | May 27, 2012 6:00:26 PM


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