Saturday, October 20, 2007

Progress on commercial space transport

SpaceX, the pioneering private launch firm founded by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, reports its Falcon 9 / Dragon mission for the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program has passed the Critical Design Review (CDR) stage. The CDR was vital to getting NASA funding for the next stage of the program. Documents, hardware, and presentations to NASA got SpaceX the thumbs-up to proceed with the project. Musk said, "In terms of overall design maturity of the Falcon 9 project, we are well ahead of the curve for a program of this size. Few CDRs feature multiple hardware items in fabrication, assembly, integration and test phases." SpaceX plans to fly a demonstration mission carrying cargo to the International Space Station by 2009.

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