Not content with just resupplying the International Space Station with cargo, South African-born Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, has just taken the wraps of of its Dragon V2 spacecraft that will be able to send up to seven astronauts into space at a time.
However it’s not Dragon V2’s ability to ferry human cargo that makes it special, the true innovation around it is the fact that Dragon will be able dock autonomously and return to earth landing anywhere with the accuracy of a helicopter. In typical SpaceX fashion even if the propulsion system loses two of its four engine it will still be able to land safely while if the entire system flops, a traditional parachute decent will system will just take over.
As with the SpaceX’s Grasshopper reusable booster rockets, the Dragon V2 is designed to be almost entirely reused for another space launch which “is extremely important for revolutionizing access to space.” syas Musk, ” Because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never have true access to space. It will always be incredibly expensive. You can imagine a scenario with aircraft — if aircraft were thrown away with each flight, nobody would be able to fly, or very few.”
Reusable rockets and space capsules like the Grasshopper and the Dragon V2 are the cornerstone of Musk’s plans to send people to Mars in the near future. According to a profile in the Seattle Times earlier this week, it’s the vision of moving human life to different planet which ultimately drives “everything” he does.[Image – YouTube]