Elon Musk Unveils SpaceX Dragon V2 Spacecraft

Tesla's CEO, billionaire Elon Musk, has just unveiled SpaceX's newest product, the Dragon V2. Designed to be an reusable spacecraft able to transport astronauts into space and back to Earth, the curious contraption was presented yesterday at the Southern California rocket builder’s headquarters near Los Angeles International Airport.
Dragon V2 4 photos
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Named Dragon V2, the futuristic cone-headed shuttle is allegedly the next step in revolutionizing space travel. Featuring landing legs that pop out and a propulsion system designed to land with high precision, Musk said it can land anywhere “with the accuracy of a helicopter”.

What is even more ground-braking is that the craft was designed with such advanced technology that finally makes space travel an affordable industry, as the the craft is able to be used in several travels. According to Tesla’s CEO, the Dragon V2 is able to reload, propel and fly again with no big modifications.

“This is extremely important for revolutionizing access to space because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and space crafts, we will never truly have access to space. It’ll always be incredibly expensive,” Musk explained while speaking at the question and answer session.

The former PayPal entrepreneur said he thinks that the vessel will be ready for manned flight in 2016, while first flights of the new craft will be unmanned to simulate the presence of humans and to ensure all systems are functional.

U.S. wants space independece

However, considering that NASA’s scheduled to launch the first American-made spacecraft in 2017 or 2018, it looks like SpaceX is already ahead of its competition. The Dragon V2 was designed as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, which stipulates the development of crafts capable of delivering four crew members into space. Basically, Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation is competing Boeing, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada, that also received funding from NASA.

The spacecraft that is to change space travel features a bright interior with swing-up computer screens at the control station, a two-level seating system to accommodate up to seven astronauts and large windows for them to get a good sight of our blue planet.

All things considered, it would seem the U.S. is pretty serious in trying to become independent from Russia’s space transport. Since the shuttle fleet retired in 2011, NASA is paying around $71 million per seat, an amount of money the American government wants to cut of as soon as possible, specially taking into account increased tensions between the two countries over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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