Space, Inc.

May 18, 2012

Rheanna Sand

It's another exciting weekend for space geeks! On Sunday, there will be an annular solar eclipse (not annual, but annular, meaning ring-like) that will be most visible in the northwestern part of North America. Alas, I will not get a chance to get the perfect "ring-of-fire" photo; being on the eastern seaboard, the sun will be below the horizon when it happens. And I won't get another chance until 2023. Damn!

The ring of fire! (Wikimedia Commons user A013231)

And on Saturday, an historic event will take place in the realm of space travel. Weather permitting, the first non-governmental spacecraft will launch, and once in orbit, will attempt to dock with the International Space Station. I've gotta say, part of me just can't believe NASA is actually outsourcing this! The last bastion of government expertise being handed over to SpaceX, a company that sounds like it could be making intergalactic-themed porn. Especially if they merged with Virgin...

But with the unfortunate, but inevitable retirement of the Space Shuttles this year, NASA must now turn to the corporate sector to get astronauts and supplies to and from the ISS. After all, they can't rely on the Russians forever, and with their record on aircraft safety lately, would they want to?

So the SpaceX group developed Dragon, a reusable capsule that will fly out of Earth's gravitational pull with the help of the Falcon 9 rocket. Side note… what happened to names like Discovery or Endeavor? A Dragon on a Falcon? They might as well put truck nuts on it and paint naked ladies on the side.


Is that a Falcon 9, or are you just happy to see me? (SpaceX)

Regardless, it will be an exciting audition for private space travel. If all goes well, it will usher in a new era. If not, well, drama ensues! I, for one, will be watching.



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