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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.