SpaceX aims to put man on Mars in 10-20 years

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    Apr 25, 2011 3:26 PM GMT
    There seems to be a plethora of space related news these days but that's a good thing. (For more read at the link):

    Private US company SpaceX hopes to put an astronaut on Mars within 10 to 20 years, the head of the firm said.

    "We'll probably put a first man in space in about three years," Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal Saturday. "We're going all the way to Mars, I think... best case 10 years, worst case 15 to 20 years."

    SpaceX is one of the two leading private space companies in the United States and has won $75 million from the US space agency NASA to help its pursuit of developing a spacecraft to replace the space shuttle.

    The California-based company last year completed its first successful test of an unmanned space capsule into orbit and back.

    "Our goal is to facilitate the transfer of people and cargo to other planets, and then it will be up to people if they want to go," said Musk, who also runs the Tesla company which develops electric cars.
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    Apr 25, 2011 3:39 PM GMT
    It's good to see that NASA is slowly being replaced by private companies.
    Maybe the "space age" will finally pick up where it left off 40 years ago.
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    Apr 27, 2011 5:18 PM GMT
    A wrinkle to the new space race, as the mantle is being taken on commercial firms in the US. Russia however is attempting to quash the competition.

    Now enter the Russians. The ISS has been a very nice bit of business for them, providing them with a lot of hard currency (to the degree that such a phrase can be said to apply to the dollar any more) during the nineties in its construction, and since it became permanently crewed over a decade ago. Because they have a monopoly on lifeboat services and (starting next year) on crew transportation, they’ve been accordingly jacking up the price (the latest contract is for $63M per seat, while SpaceX proposes $20M). In addition, they’ve gotten a continual pass on the Iran/North-Korea/Syria Non-Proliferation Act, because Congress has been forced to waive its requirements for them every time a new contract is negotiated, despite the fact that they continue to help Iran develop nukes and missiles.

    Obviously, it is not in their interest to see competition emerge at all, let alone from an upstart private American company with whom they (like the Chinese) will not be able to compete on price. Happily for them, as one of the “partners” on the ISS, they have the ability to throw a wrench into the competitor’s works, as they demonstrated on Friday. They do, in fact, have veto power on issues involving safety. It is quite convenient for them that the only real way to demonstrate the ability to safely dock with the station is to do so, a feat that they can declare “unsafe,” and thus result in a Catch-22 situation in which the burden of proof is on SpaceX to do something that it will not be allowed to do. Other unmanned vehicles, from Europe and Japan, have docked to the ISS in the past, with no objections from the Russians, but those vehicles didn’t threaten their crew-transportation monopoly.