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Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station

Rendezvous and docking
5/31/2012 04:58 PM EDT
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george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   5/31/2012 6:00:54 PM
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On only its second return from orbit, SpaceX made the Dragon splashdown look easy. It even hit the water 10 minutes early. Next cargo mission to the space station could come as early as September. SpaceX now has a ton of data to sift through so that these cargo flights will eventually become routine. The big challenge now is making Dragon a safe, reliable way to get astronauts to the space station.

stippu
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
stippu   6/4/2012 10:35:24 AM
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Pics were awesome.. earlier I used to watch some documentaries on Discovery channel but of late, haven't been watching. These pictures and your story has re-kindled my interest in this. Good work.. good to know its all real!

EREBUS0
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
EREBUS0   5/31/2012 8:05:17 PM
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Brings back memories of watch the early mercury, gemini and apollo launches in the sixties and seventies. Why NASA threw the plans for the Apollo and Saturn V away I will never know, nor forgive. Still, its nice to see the US return to space. Can't wait for the first manned mission. 1960's de ja vue.

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   5/31/2012 9:45:55 PM
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As LBJ said, we expended all that effort and treasure to get to the moon, then we "p---ed it away." Homer Hickam, who started his NASA career at the Marshall Spaceflight Center, told us that NASA literally destroyed the jigs and dies used to make the Saturn V rocket. What a waste. The good news is that SpaceX could still use an upgraded version of the Saturn V's second stage engine, the J2X, if and when it shifts to manned Dragon flights. So not all is lost.

old account Frank Eory
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
old account Frank Eory   5/31/2012 8:42:13 PM
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It really is an odd, nostalgic feeling to see a spacecraft splashdown in the ocean for the first time in almost 40 years.

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   5/31/2012 9:48:26 PM
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Yes, it reminded me of the Gemini and Apollo flights where they had to jettison the service module before conducting the de-orbit burn. SpaceX was right on target with its splashdown off the California coast, and Elon Musk was bragging at the post-flight press conference that they are so confident of their guidance system that they believe they can land Dragon in "someone's backyard."

Robotics Developer
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
Robotics Developer   5/31/2012 8:42:41 PM
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It makes me proud that the private space business has started and looks to be sustainable. Only with multiple successful missions will the dream really become a reality. I mourned the loss of NASA launch platform capacity and hope that we will once again, reach for the stars as a country.

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   5/31/2012 9:50:32 PM
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If NASA gets the funding it needs, the success of SpaceX will move the space agency closer to its goal of developing a heavy lift capacity so that we can again finally go somewhere in space.

docdivakar
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
docdivakar   6/1/2012 12:36:08 AM
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On a day like this, it is feels great to be an engineer! Hats off to the Dragon team. @Frank Eory: I hear you, I had only seen news reel videos (that were screened before the movies began in Indian theatres) of the Apollo program and this certainly brings back memories. I used to watch in wonder and awe when the Apollo crafts were plucked from the ocean and never knew that one day I would be living and working in a country that produced such great feats. MP Divakar

nicolas.mokhoff
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
nicolas.mokhoff   6/1/2012 1:48:05 AM
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I applaud this successful venture for two reasons. The first is that it has succeeded. The second is that it it is a good example of private/government cooperation. While Elon Musk needs to be commended so does NASA in becoming more of a partner with industry. Its Commercial Crew and Cargo program fits nicely with the SpaceX goals and tasks: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/

elPresidente
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
elPresidente   6/1/2012 6:09:46 AM
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Congratulations, America! You succeeded in repeating, today, a technology capability from 50 years ago. Retrorockets, parachutes, and splashdown, and all.

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   6/1/2012 1:05:02 PM
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Yes, it's old technology. The goal here is to demonstrate a commercial capability that can reduce the cost of getting to low-earth orbit as well as hauling cargo and crews to the space station. That's the new technology. Then NASA can work on technologies that are not 50 years old.

ReneCardenas
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
ReneCardenas   6/1/2012 8:26:06 PM
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Hey Pres, if this tech was so retro, and so "EASY" to accomplish. How come N.Korea can't get their act together and get "EASIER" feats done. I am just saying, if it was so trivial shouldn't anyone with some spare change get to do it? Congrats SpaceX team, you desearve a great accolades for your success!!!

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   6/1/2012 3:59:47 PM
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We've just added another picture to page one of this slideshow showing the recovered Dragon spacecraft aboard a recovery barge. The scorch marks of a fiery reentry are evident.

Sanjib.A
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
Sanjib.A   6/4/2012 3:29:59 AM
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Not sure but I recall that this spacecraft is "re-useable"...if that is correct, do we have any information on how many times this could be used before it is de-commissioned?

mcgrathdylan
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
mcgrathdylan   6/1/2012 7:00:37 PM
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Great photos. One giant step for commercial space exploration....

cr0sh
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
cr0sh   6/1/2012 7:22:04 PM
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These were great photos and an awesome success for SpaceX; I hope they are able to repeat it in the future many times to come. That said, I really wish we would learn to not "throw away" stuff like the "trunk equipment module". It takes a ton of energy to get that up there (not to mention all the energy it took down here just to manufacture it); it should be left up there in a stable orbit (or something), rather than letting it drift and eventually burn up in the atmosphere. We are literally throwing away potential raw materials and energy that we can't get anywhere else. That is a complete and avoidable waste, in my (admittedly layman's) opinion.

Lampshuk
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
Lampshuk   6/1/2012 8:51:08 PM
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Quite right. If Elon Musk's so confident of landing the cargo module "in someone's back yard" he could at least land the trunk module in a recycling bin. Now _that's_ something I'd pay money to see on YouTube.

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   6/1/2012 11:41:31 PM
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He's undoubtedly working on it. In fact, SpaceX wants to develop reusable rockets that can fly back to the launch pad after the payload hits orbit.

yalanand
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
yalanand   6/2/2012 8:51:08 AM
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Reusable rockets will definitely help us to make space tourism popular. I guess people are bored of visiting places on earth, a day will come when they will start visiting space-station or moon for their holidays.

trmb
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
trmb   6/1/2012 7:52:24 PM
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Congratulations to the SpaceX team for a remarkable accomplishment. And a wish for many more. It's great to see them succeed in something those spineless gray worms in Congress no longer have the political will to do.

yalanand
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
yalanand   6/2/2012 8:49:43 AM
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This is amazing achievement by SpaceX. I am sure commercialization of space related projects will definitely help us to explore the space more.

krh
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
krh   6/2/2012 10:25:59 PM
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Great for SpaceX and the future of space exploration. I have to admit I haven't followed much of the details of this development...but will now...

george.leopold
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
george.leopold   6/4/2012 1:19:56 AM
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Splashdown video from chase plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbHj4P81voA&feature=plcp

agk
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
agk   6/4/2012 11:38:12 AM
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Great photos. I fell like that i am watching a movie like star wars.

Robotics Developer
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re: Slideshow: Pinpoint splashdown ends first visit to space station
Robotics Developer   6/4/2012 6:44:14 PM
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I loved the differences between the SpaceX and NASA control rooms! NASA had the old familiar large box monitors and equipment while SpaceX had slim large LCD monitors. It looked like my boys had set up for a LAN party in a reception room at the local hotel. Very nice setup and great job SpaceX! I love to see space technology brought up to date (even if the module did have to splash down - it still worked and was very successful).

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