Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla Cars and SpaceX has unveiled his latest spaceship: the Dragon V2 capsule, which could soon be blasting astronauts towards the International Space Station.
In a 15 minute presentation whilst we Brits slept last night, Musk showed off the prototype – and whilst he may have lacked the charisma or showmanship of Tony Stark, you can’t help but be impressed by the ambition.
Remember the soft landing video? That’s what this new ship is all about – apparently it will be able to land anywhere on earth with the precision of a helicopter. Which is significant as humankind’s previous solution to landing a rocket has been to crash the capsule into the sea and build a new one after rescuing the astronauts.
Helpfully, though the capsule will land with engines it will also retain its parachutes as an emergency back-up.
The idea is that this design will enable what Musk called “rapid reusability” – driving down the cost of spaceflight. Optimistically, this means that space travel just got a little, tiny bit more likely within our lifetimes.
And if you watch the video, not only does the inside of the ship look super slick and like something from science fiction (complete with touchscreens and the like), but the engine powering it all is 3D printed with a special high strength alloy. SpaceX? 3D printing? All musk needs to do now is pay for the ship in Bitcoins and he’ll achieve the internet hype trifecta.
Anyway, watch this and try to not get at least a little bit excited…
By James O'Malley | May 30th, 2014