BBC News - SpaceX unveil 'no runway' Dragon V2 space capsule:
NASA is one more giant government agency to flame out spectacularly ... it got us to the moon, which was amazing, but it only gives one more example of what government CAN do, all be it usually quite inefficiently and often with GREAT expense in both money and lives.
Single focus, TIME LIMITED projects --- War, Building a nuclear weapon (Manhattan Project), "Getting to the moon by the end of this decade" ...
When the project is open ended and less than PRECISELY defined -- "have a space program", "make people happy", "end poverty", "provide health care", the result is always disaster ... slow expensive crushing embarrassing disaster.
The NASA shuttle was a damned impressive thing in that it was huge and it worked at all, but it was obviously flawed from the start -- tiles and giant solid boosters tacked on the side ... both of which caused catastrophic failures with total loss of crew and craft. From the POV of any engineer, those items were "hacks" at best.
How good will Dragon be? No idea, this is the marketing release -- of course it looks good! But it does look very cool. Being able to land vertically sure sounds wonderful -- but having to carry enough fuel to do it back through the atmosphere at re-entry temps still makes me wonder if given chemical propulsion, parachutes aren't good enough ... maybe a parasail with some control and some thrusters to make a ground landing at a more predictable location and softer.
But at least it is private -- which makes the chances that they know what they are doing better.
'via Blog this'