Monday, May 14, 2012


The Soyuz blasts off from Kazakhstan
AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel
A hearty Поздравляю! to NASA Astronaut Joe Acaba and the two Russian cosmonauts who blasted off last night in a Soyuz capsule headed for the ISS. If all goes well, they will get to witness the docking of SpaceX's Dragon Capsule on May 19 - the first by a private sector company. The capsule will contain cargo and supplies for the ISS, and will be the first of 12 planned supply missions to the ISS by SpaceX. If all goes well with the Dragon capsule missions (and the prerequisite Falcon 9 launches), SpaceX will eventually be shuttling astronauts to the ISS, eliminating the need for NASA to rely on Russia to taxi US astronauts back and forth.

Last night's launch is a good example of why we badly need the private sector to reinvigorate the space industry: After 50 years of NASA's monopoly on manned space flight, we are sending one astronaut at a time to the ISS in a Russian capsule designed in the 1960s. May 19 cannot come soon enough.

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