Video: SpaceX's new manned Dragon

Jun 03, 2014 by Ken Kremer, Universe Today
Meet Dragon V2 – SpaceX CEO Elon pulls the curtain off manned Dragon V2 on May 29, 2014 for worldwide unveiling of SpaceX’s new astronaut transporter for NASA. Credit: SpaceX

Would like to meet and fly aboard SpaceX's next generation manned Dragon V2 spacecraft?

Well hop aboard for a ride, take a seat and prepare for the thrill of a to the International Space Station (ISS) and back.

Now you can experience the opening salvo in the exciting new chapter of 'Commercial Human Spaceflight.'

The effort is led by a trio of private American aerospace company's (SpaceX, Boeing & Sierra Nevada) in an intimate partnership with NASA to get American's back in on American rockets from American Soil – rather than being totally dependent on Russian rocket technology and Soyuz capsules for astronaut rides to orbit.

"We need to have our own capability to get our crews to space. Commercial crew is really, really, really important," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told me in an exclusive interview.

Billionaire entrepreneur and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk let the curtain to the future drop on Thursday, May 29 to reveal his company's new manned Dragon V2 astronaut transporter for all the world to see during a live streaming webcast direct from SpaceX's state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facility and Headquarters in Hawthorne, CA.

And with a flair worthy of the premiere of a blockbuster Hollywood Science Fiction movie he unveiled the gum-dropped shaped Dragon V2 – and the lively animation. Although its not known if he provide the crews with musical entertainment too.

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Animation of SpaceX Dragon V2 astronaut transporter. Credit: SpaceX

As you'll quickly notice watching the animation, the sleek styled V2 manned Dragon is a far cry ahead of the current V1 cargo Dragon.

"We wanted to take a big step in spacecraft technology. It is a big leap forward in technology and takes things to the next level," said Musk.

The top of the V2 is equipped to open up and expose a docking probe so it's able to dock autonomously at the ISS – and at the same port as NASA's now retired space shuttle orbiters.

'Catching a Dragon by the tail'- with the Canadian built robot arm as the stations astronauts like to say will be a thing of the past.

"No robotic arm necessary!" Musk explained.

And for departure there's another big difference – powerful SuperDraco landing rockets for pinpoint touchdown accuracy rather than an ocean splashdown.

The animation shows a thrilling land landing back at the Kennedy Space Center launch base.

SpaceX Dragon V2 docks at the ISS. Credit: SpaceX

"An important characteristic of that is its ability to land anywhere on land, propulsively. It can land anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter," Musk said.

"I think that's what a spaceship should be able to do."

Musk and SpaceX are not alone aiming to get Americans back to space.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveils SpaceX Dragon V2 next generation astronaut spacecraft on May 29, 2014. Credit: Robert Fisher/America Space

Boeing and Sierra Nevada are competing with SpaceX to build the next generation spaceship to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS by 2017 using seed money from NASA's Commercial Crew Program in a public/private partnership.

The Boeing CST-100 and Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser 'space taxis' are also vying for funding in the next round of contracts to be awarded by NASA around late summer 2014.

Explore further: SpaceX unveils capsule to ferry astronauts to space

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