SpaceX CEO, founder and chief designer Elon Musk is set to unveil the manned version of his firms commercial Dragon spaceship later this week, setting in motion an effort that he hopes will soon restore America’s capability to launch US astronauts to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS) .
Musk will personally introduce SpaceX’s ‘Space Taxi’ dubbed ‘Dragon V2’ at what amounts to sort of a world premiere event on May 29 at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, according to an official announcement this evening (May 27) from SpaceX.
The manned Dragon will launch atop the powerful SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket from a SpaceX pad on the Florida Space Coast.
Dragon was initially developed as a commercial unmanned resupply freighter to deliver 20, 000 kg (44, 000 pounds) of supplies and science experiments to the ISS under a $1.6 Billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA during a dozen Dragon cargo spacecraft flights through 2016.
Musk is making good on a recent comment he posted to twitter on April 29, with respect to the continuing fallout from the deadly crisis in Ukraine which has resulted in some US economic sanctions imposed against Russia, that now potentially threaten US access to the ISS in a boomerang action from the Russian government:
“Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that @SpaceX has been working on with @NASA. No trampoline needed, ” Musk tweeted.
“Cover drops on May 29. Actual flight design hardware of crew Dragon, not a mockup, ” Musk added.
The ‘Dragon V2’ is an upgraded, man rated version of the unmanned spaceship that can carry a mix of cargo and up to a seven crewmembers to the ISS.
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