Press Release

Space Frontier Foundation Statement on Dragon Berthing

By SpaceRef Editor
May 25, 2012
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Space Frontier Foundation Statement on Dragon Berthing

Tomorrow astronauts onboard the International Space Station will open the hatch of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. This event isn’t just a simple door opening between two spacecraft – it opens the door to a future in which U.S. industry can and will deliver huge benefits for U.S. space exploration.

“The SpaceX and NASA teams deserve the cheers and thanks they are getting from the American people for successfully carrying out this mission. This accomplishment opens up a new era for human spaceflight,” said Bob Werb, Co-Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation. “Dragon has shown that the NewSpace model works well for NASA at the International Space Station. Since the ISS is the foundation for future exploration, NASA must give NewSpace companies – large and small – the opportunity to play a greater role in NASA’s future exploration plans.”

Launched into space on the third flight of the Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday, the Dragon capsule unfurled its solar panels and on Thursday flew around the International Space Station to complete the COTS 2 flight milestones. Dragon continued to make history today by carefully approaching and then being grappled by the Station crew, fulfilling the requirements for COTS 3 and demonstrating a cargo delivery capability. This means that upon returning to Earth, Dragon will have met all its goals safely and is ready for regular cargo operations.

“Elon Musk has often talked about the need to make humanity a multi-planetary species and with NASA’s help, SpaceX has made progress towards that goal,” said James Muncy, Co-Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation. “This week’s achievements mark an important step forward and amazingly, the SpaceX-NASA team made it look easy.”

The Dragon spacecraft has a bright future in U.S. spaceflight beyond carrying cargo. It has windows and was designed to allow for crew capability to be added. Along with other companies’ offering, the Dragon/Falcon 9 system has been completing targets in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program with an eye towards flying people in just a few years.

“Now is the time to double down on U.S. industry and increase funding for the Commercial Crew Program to allow multiple companies to demonstrate commercial orbital human spaceflight early in the second half of this decade. Elon Musk had a vision and his team has carried it to fruition,” proclaimed Rick Tumlinson, Co-Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation. “Other U.S. industries have shown this model works and now we have clear proof that space is no different. Visionaries, dreamers and entrepreneurs have opened frontiers in the past and they will open the final frontier of space as well. Let’s realize these visions by fully funding Commercial Crew.”

The Foundation loudly congratulates the entire SpaceX team, along with their partners in NASA, DOD and the FAA, and offer them a huge round of applause.


SpaceRef staff editor.