SpaceX News: Next plan, Mars mission and beyond moon
Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, has returned from its month-long stay in orbit with more than 5,400 pounds of used equipment and experiments,report said.
Included in the return payload were stem cells used in medical research, samples from a tissue-regeneration experiment, and a device that tested the use of lasers to transmit data to Earth from space. Some of the cargo was removed by NASA support personnel and returned to the space agency immediately, while the Dragon capsule with other experiments and equipment will make its journey back to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, according to NASA.
SpaceX News: Company signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA
SpaceX Dragon launched Feb. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Feb. 23 for the company’s 10th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission. Part of the project is transporting, including a propellant plant that could be deployed on Mars to make methalox rocket propellant from local resources.
On Feb. 27 NASA revealed its plan seeking information on private ventures to send spacecraft to planet Mars in 2020 and beyond that would be willing to accommodate NASA instruments and other payloads on their missions. Responses are due March 28. SpaceX is most likely to be able to provide payload services as soon as 2020, according to report.
The company announced plans last year to fly a robotic Mars lander, called Red Dragon, and signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to gain technical and other support.
SpaceX will send two private citizens on a trip around the Moon late next year, the company announced. Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the Moon and return to Earth
The Interplanetary Transport System (ITS),formerly known as the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT), is SpaceX’s privately funded development project to design and build a system of spaceflight technology and remote human settlements on Mars— including reusable launch vehicles and spacecraft; Earth infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch; low Earth orbit, zero-gravity propellant transfer technology; and extraterrestrial technology to enable human colonization of Mars.
The technology is also envisioned to eventually support exploration missions to other locations in the Solar System including the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. SpaceX news/ Image: SpaceX