The future of space travel has officially entered the next generation. Up until recently, NASA has only allowed their own shuttles and spacecraft to travel into outer space. Today, NASA has given the official “okay” to allow a private spacecraft to travel into outer space. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX continues to move the needle in regards to technology. NASA will allow Musk’s “Crew Dragon” shuttle to transport astronauts to the International Space Station at some point in 2017.
Up until now, the United States has been banking on Russia to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Musk’s SpaceX will cost less for NASA, and can help keep the travel housed in the United States. However, funding is a major hitch in the plans. If Congress does not supply the necessary funds for the Crew Dragon to travel in 2017, the contract may be forced to be put on hold for awhile.
“When Crew Dragon takes NASA astronauts to the space station in 2017, they will be riding in one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating office, said in a statement.
This is not Musk’s first attempt to send a privatized spacecraft into outer space. In 2011, SpaceX had their rockets stuck on Earth due to some explosions that occurred on their unmanned rockets. In my opinion, if we are able to get these rockets deployed into space, it will be a massive win for the United States. Having to rely on another country for help in getting astronauts to the International Space Station makes NASA’s life much more difficult. However, NASA must make sure to supervise the mission as much as possible. Getting involved in private companies is brand new territory for the space giant.
Thank you to qz.com for the story and quotes. Be sure to check out the full article.