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Saturday, May 31, 2014

SpaceX: The Dragon V2 Capsule Is Unveiled!

The Dragon V2 capsule is unveiled to the public at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California...on May 29, 2014.
SpaceX

Two days ago, SpaceX founder Elon Musk unveiled to the public the company's next-generation Dragon capsule...which is designed to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station as soon as 2016. Known as Dragon V2, this spacecraft is capable of transporting a total of seven crew members (just like the space shuttle) to orbit and would be able to land on the ground (like Russia's Soyuz capsule) using a set of powerful SuperDraco thrusters—which are the first rocket engines to ever be fabricated using 3-D printers. Dragon V2 also comes with standard parachutes if any of the thrusters stop functioning during the descent towards the surface after the capsule re-entered Earth's atmosphere. Dragon V2 is set to conduct its first unmanned test flight by the end of next year...most likely from Launch Complex 39A (where Apollo 11 lifted off from in 1969, and the first and final space shuttle missions began in 1981 and 2011, respectively) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX officially leased LC-39A from NASA last month.

The Dragon V2 capsule is unveiled to the public at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California...on May 29, 2014.
SpaceX

SpaceX founder Elon Musk unveils the Dragon V2 capsule to the public at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California...on May 29, 2014.
SpaceX

The side hatch is opened on the Dragon V2 capsule during its unveiling at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California...on May 29, 2014.
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

A glimpse of Dragon V2's cabin during the capsule's unveiling at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California...on May 29, 2014.
EPA

A close-up of the 3-D-printed SuperDraco thrusters that will allow SpaceX's Dragon V2 capsule to touch down on land following a mission to the International Space Station and other orbital destinations.
SpaceX

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