A bit of high tech goodness for all of you brainiac geek types out there. After many delays in getting off the ground, Dragon – the first commercial space venture of a non-experimental nature – docked with the International Space Station on Friday. (Video follows)
A new first was achieved today (May 26) when astronauts on the International Space Station opened the door to their newest spacecraft visitor, the private capsule Dragon.
Dragon, built by commercial company SpaceX, arrived at the space station on Friday (May 25) and was attached to the outpost’s Harmony node at 12:02 p.m. EDT (1602 GMT). It is the first private vehicle ever to visit the $100 billion space station, which is a partnership between five international space agencies.
What did NASA astronaut Don Pettit think of the new arrival?
“Kind of reminds me of the cargo capability that I can put in the back of my pickup truck and the smell inside smells like a brand new car,” Pettit said after entering the Dragon.
There’s been plenty of debate over where we go next after NASA shelved the shuttle program. More unmanned cargo missions with as much reusable technology as possible were the obvious, early answers. But you also need human beings for some jobs, no matter how wonderful our robots seem. Is commercial, private spacefaring the answer? It has a nice, free market ring to it at first blush, but should governments relinquish their claim to low orbit real estate? Conversely, under what auspices would any government claim ownership of space? It’s a complicated issue.
Anyway, here’s the video. Dragon was a good name for the capsule, because this is pretty darned cool.