Feeds

ISS ready to work with Elon Musk's Dragon spaceship

Now SpaceX just needs to get it flying

The next step in data security

SpaceX, the private sector orbital launch firm started by PayPal hecamillionaire Elon Musk (also of Tesla Motors fame), has announced activation of comms kit aboard the International Space Station which will allow operations with the company's upcoming Dragon capsule.

The new equipment, known as the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Communication Unit, was taken up to the station by the space shuttle Atlantis last November. ISS astronauts began setting it up and testing it in January, and more tests took place this month.

“The success of this series of tests speaks to our close collaboration with NASA as well as the SpaceX process that allowed the rapid development of this new hardware,” said SpaceX ops chief Marco Villa. “Everything went smoothly, and we eagerly anticipate the upcoming Dragon visits to the ISS.”

SpaceX is currently ground-testing its new Falcon 9 rocket, intended to launch the Dragon into orbit. At present the firm has only flown the less powerful Falcon 1, intended for smaller payloads such as relatively light satellites.

NASA has awarded SpaceX a $1bn+ contract calling for delivery of supplies to the station using unmanned Falcon 9 launched Dragons beginnning next year. However, the firm says that the launcher and capsule have been "designed from the beginning to transport crew", and makes no secret of its aspiration to carry astronauts as well as cargoes.

NASA's own manned spaceflight plans are currently in disarray, with the shuttle fleet set for imminent retirement and the planned Ares/Orion systems - which were never fully funded by Congress - now cancelled outright by the Obama administration.

With the ISS soon to be entirely reliant on Russian Soyuz ships, commercial providers like SpaceX may well get the chance they've been begging for. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.