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Friday, September 19, 2014

Spirit of St Louis and the DC 3

On Tuesday afternoon NASA announced that the Boeing CST-100 spacecraft and SpaceX Dragon V2 spacecraft would become the replacements for the space shuttle program, and begin ferrying US crews to the International Space Station and other destinations in low earth orbit by 2017. NASA's SLS/Orion program will take the lead on deep space exploration, to asteroids, Mars and beyond. NASA itself seems to be abandoning the moon altogether, but Bigelow Aerospace seems hell bent on colonizing it on their own, which is excellent. Exciting times, for those who care about such things.

I think that the combination of brash, innovative SpaceX and solid, competent and experienced Boeing will be an excellent one. Elon Musk has made it very clear that his goal is to build a city (not research facility, or colony; "city") on Mars soon enough for him to retire on, with or without help from NASA. Boeing is looking to corner the market on cheap, safe and utterly routine spaceflight; to do for spaceflight what they've already done for commercial jet air travel. In their own ways, each goal is incredibly ambitious, and fully achievable with the teams involved. I'm really, really happy to see these two moving forward in realizing commercial spaceflight.

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