Returning Human Spaceflight Capability to the United States, Introducing the SpaceX Dragon V2

Introducing the SpaceX Dragon Version 2, the company's vehicle of choice for returning human spaceflight capability to the United States. Image Credits: Robert Fisher / AmericaSpace / SpaceX

Introducing the SpaceX Dragon Version 2, the company’s vehicle of choice for returning human spaceflight capability to the United States. Image Credits: Robert Fisher / AmericaSpace / SpaceX

On Thursday, May 29, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled his Hawthorne, Calif.-based company’s new Dragon spacecraft, the Dragon V2, for returning human spaceflight capability to the United States and ending our nation’s total dependence on Russia for flying astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The highly anticipated unveiling, which took place at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., showed off the new spacecraft, capable of flying a crew of seven astronauts at a time, and highlighted many of its unique capabilities—and there are plenty.

“When we first created Dragon V1 we didn’t really know how to create a spacecraft, we never designed a spacecraft before, so, while there are a lot of interesting technologies in Dragon V1 it does have a relatively conventional landing approach by throwing off parachutes and landing in water off the coast of CA after it comes back from the ISS,” said Musk moments before dropping the curtain on Dragon V2. “It’s a great spacecraft and a great proof of concept, it showed us what it took to bring something back from orbit, which is a very difficult thing to do, but going from V1 we wanted to take a big step in technology.”

A side by side comparison of the Dragon V1 (right) and Dragon V2 (left). The Dragon V1 pictured was the actual spacecraft flown on the COTS-1 mission in Dec 2010, which marked the first time a commercial company launched a spacecraft into orbit and returned it safely back to Earth. Photo Credits: Robert Fisher / Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

A side by side comparison of the Dragon V1 (right) and Dragon V2 (left). The Dragon V1 pictured was the actual spacecraft flown on the COTS-1 mission in Dec 2010, which marked the first time a commercial company launched a spacecraft into orbit and returned it safely back to Earth. Photo Credits: Robert Fisher / Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

SpaceX currently flies their Dragon V1 to carry out a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA, signed in late 2008, to conduct 12 dedicated Dragon resupply missions to the ISS by 2016, missions which promise to haul a total of 44,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the orbiting outpost. Dragon V1 was the first commercial spacecraft to visit the ISS, and the first commercial spacecraft to return to Earth from orbit. It has flown to, and from, the ISS four times, starting with the inaugural Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demo mission in May 2012 and followed by the dedicated CRS-1 and CRS-2 missions in October 2012 and March 2013, and, most recently, the CRS-3 mission just last month.

However, Elon Musk has always said he wants to bring American human spaceflight capability back to the nation and give humanity the means to become a multi-planet species, at much cheaper than any government can do, and even though the Dragon V1 does have a life support system it’s not one that can last for a long time or carry a lot of people. That’s where the Dragon V2 comes in, and its landing method will be quite different, too.

Artist's illustration showing various stages of the Dragon V2 spacecraft's unique propulsive landing ability, allowing for landings almost anywhere in the world. Image Credits: SpaceX / AmericaSpace

Artist’s illustration showing various stages of the Dragon V2 spacecraft’s unique propulsive landing ability, allowing for landings almost anywhere in the world. Image Credits: SpaceX / AmericaSpace

“Dragon V2 still retains the parachutes of Dragon V1, but V2 will be able to land anywhere on land propulsively, and do so anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter, which is something I think a modern spaceship should be able to do,” said Musk. “When Dragon V2 reaches a particular altitude a few miles before landing it will test the engines and verify that all the engines are working before proceeding to a propulsive landing, and if there is any anomaly detected with the engines or propulsion system it will then deploy the parachutes to ensure a safe landing, even in the event that the propulsion system is not working. All around I think it’s really a big leap forward in technology, it really takes things to the next level.”

“Even after starting the propulsion system it can afford to lose up to two engines and still land safely,” added Musk. “After the engines are started it will then deploy the landing legs for a soft landing. This is really important, apart from the convenience of the landing location, because it enable rapid reusability of the spacecraft, you can just reload propellants and fly again. This is extremely important for evolutionizing access to space because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft we will never truly have access to space, it will always be incredibly expensive.”

Musk offered the following scenario for comparison:

“If aircraft were thrown away after each flight then nobody would be able to fly, or very few, maybe a small number of customers. The same is true of rockets and spacecraft, so that’s really why it’s so important to be able to land propulsively, land on land and be able to reload propellants and take off again.”

An advanced 3D printed SuperDraco engine, the same which will fly on the Dragon V2 spacecraft, conducting qualification testing at the company's Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas last month. Photo Credit: SpaceX

An advanced 3D printed SuperDraco engine, the same which will fly on the Dragon V2 spacecraft, conducting qualification testing at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, last month. Photo Credit: SpaceX

The biggest upgrade, at least from a propulsion standpoint, is the addition of the SuperDraco engines, a “superpowered” version of the Dragon V1 Draco engines used to maneuver in space and control the spacecraft’s trajectory during reentry. Dragon V2 will still use the original Draco thrusters for maneuvering in space, but the V2’s SuperDraco thrusters will serve both as part of the vehicle’s launch escape system and enable propulsive landing on land. A total of eight SuperDraco’s are built into the side walls of the Dragon V2 and will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust (16,000 pounds of thrust each, compared to 100 pounds of thrust each with the original Draco thrusters). The engines also come in pairs, so if one engine fails the other can increase its thrust to compensate for the engine that is not firing.

The SuperDraco engines on the Dragon V2 are also the first fully 3-D printed engines intended for space. The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high-performance superalloy that offers both high strength and toughness for increased reliability; they will become the first printed rocket engines ever used in spaceflight. It was only a couple days ago that SpaceX completed qualification testing for the SuperDraco thruster at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, which included testing across a variety of conditions including multiple starts, extended firing durations, and extreme off-nominal propellant flow and temperatures.

“Through 3-D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods,” said Musk. “SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”

VIDEO: SpaceX Dragon 2 Flight Animation. CREDIT: SpaceX

The first flight demonstration of the new SuperDraco’s is expected to occur later this year during a pad abort test, as is outlined under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) initiative.

Another big difference between the V1 and the new V2 is in its docking system. Current spacecraft, including the Dragon V1, require the Space Station’s robotic Canadarm for docking; the Dragon V2 can dock autonomously (or piloted) without the arm, which alone is quite a significant upgrade from spacecraft that came before.

During the unveiling Musk also took his rightful seat inside the spacecraft to show off the interior design of the Dragon V2, giving everyone a taste of what astronauts can expect to see as they make their way to and from space.

“We aimed for something with Dragon V2 for the interfaces and the overall aesthetic of something that’s very clean and very simple,” said Musk while sitting onboard his spacecraft. “As the pilot you are able to interact with the screens overhead and control the spacecraft, and then we’ve got all the critical functions needed in an emergency situation as manual buttons.”

Inside the SpaceX Dragon V2. Image Credits: Robert Fisher / AmericaSpace / SpaceX

Inside the SpaceX Dragon V2. Image Credits: Robert Fisher / AmericaSpace / SpaceX

The retirement of NASA’s space shuttle fleet in 2011 also ended America’s ability to send our own astronauts to and from space until a new vehicle is developed. In the time since the space agency has been forced to pay Russia for seats on their Soyuz spacecraft for access to and from the ISS, at a cost of over $70 million per seat, and Russia continues to increase that cost every time NASA has to sign a new contract for those rides. Not only that, but Russia and the United States are currently trading jabs in the political arena over sanctions imposed by the U.S. over Russia’s de facto annexation of the Ukraine’s Crimea region, and Russia has not been shy about reminding the U.S. that we need them for access to and from a space station that the American taxpayers primarily paid for (some estimates put the total cost of the ISS at over $100 billion).

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who also serves as head of both the Russian Defense Ministry and Russian Space Program, even went so far as to say, “I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline,” in a comment made publicly several weeks ago.

An artist's illustration depicting several SpaceX Dragon V2's at the ISS. Image Credit: SpaceX

An artist’s illustration depicting several SpaceX Dragon V2’s at the ISS. Image Credit: SpaceX

“We are in a bad situation here, it’s not really the fact that Russia is taunting the United States for access to and from space, but they are also massively overcharging,” said Musk. “What we are providing for NASA would bring the cost per astronaut down to less than $20 million. That assumes a low flight rate, in a high flight rate that cost could potentially drop into the single digit millions.”

Elon Musk and his SpaceX are not the only ones competing to secure NASA contracts for transporting crews to and from orbit; Boeing and Sierra Nevada are also in the game and are currently developing the CST-100 spacecraft and the Dream Chaser respectively. All three companies are developing their spacecraft with seed money from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in a public/private partnership to return human spaceflight capability to the United States by 2017.

Dragon V2’s first orbital demonstration flight, which will be unmanned and fully autonomous, is expected to launch atop the company’s own Falcon-9 rocket from the historic Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A in 2015, with the first crewed flight expected in 2016.

“From a SpaceX standpoint we expect to be ready to transport crew by 2016,” said Musk. “We feel fairly confident that we’ll be ready in two years.”

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51 comments to Returning Human Spaceflight Capability to the United States, Introducing the SpaceX Dragon V2

  • Joe

    “The SuperDraco engines on the Dragon V2 are also the first fully 3D printed engines intended for space.”

    “The first flight demonstration of the new SuperDraco’s is expected to occur later this year during a pad abort test, as is outlined under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) initiative.”

    Just to make sure we all understand what is being said here.

    Is SpaceX saying that the “new Super Draco” engines to be flight demonstrated later this year are entirely made by 3D printing?

  • Randy

    Yes. That is what they are saying. I am not an engine expert, but as I understand it, the accessories (fuel feed lines, tanks, etc.) are not printed, but the main body of the engine (combustion chamber, nozzle, etc.) are printed.

    • Joe

      That is interesting, as the etc. would include pumps, fuel injectors, and (more) etc.

      I am very enthusiastic about the utility of 3D printing in the future of space activities, but this would be optimistic even for me.

      Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed successful test standing of a rocket engine with a 3D printer produced fuel injector. Their intent is to eventually be able to produce entire rocket engines in this manner. But that will be after a lot more component level testing.

      No sarcasm intended, did I miss news reports of SpaceX engaging in such a development program or are they trying to jump directly to the end game?

      • ken anthony

        That’s a good observation Joe. SpaceX has lot of things they are working on that aren’t press releases. While one of the most open companies, presentations have a purpose.

        In this case, among other reasons, because they are in competition for more funding (although not required to move forward it does move them forward faster.)

        • Joe

          Are you saying you know from independent sources that they have been doing this kind of development program or that you assume they are because they now seem to be claiming it?

          If you have such information please share it.

          Again, I am not trying to pick a fight, only trying to get reliable information.

          As of now it does not appear to be available.

          • Leonidas Papadopoulos

            Joe, SpaceX issued a press release a few days ago, regarding the development of their SuperDraco engine. You can read it here. Their press release seems to indicate that they have been actively involved with developing additive manufacturing technologies for at least some of their rocket systems.

            • Joe

              Leonidas,

              Thanks also, I do not intend to question your reporting either, but the link appears to be missing from your post.

              Would still really like to see it.

              • Leonidas Papadopoulos

                Weird, it seems to work OK for me but in any case, you can see it here:

                http://www.spacex.com/press/2014/05/27/spacex-completes-qualification-testing-superdraco-thruster

                Best regards.

                • Joe

                  Thanks Leonidas,

                  Again it should be noted there is a discrepancy between two SpaceX assertions.

                  Per Mike’s post below:
                  ““This will be the first fully printed engine” – Elon Musk”

                  Per the link you provided:
                  “The SuperDraco engine chamber is manufactured using state-of-the-art direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), otherwise known as 3D printing. The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high-performance superalloy that offers both high strength and toughness for increased reliability.”

                  That says that the combustion chamber (not the entire engine) is manufactured by 3D printing. The combustion chamber is an important part of a rocket engine, but it is by far not the entire engine.

                  I dislike playing these parse every word games, but when dealing with SpaceX it is – unfortunately – necessary.

                  • Leonidas Papadopoulos

                    Joe, I understand your point, yet, what Mike reported is what exactly Elon Musk said during the unveiling of the Dragon V2. If there’s a discrepancy between the two assertions, then that’s something for SpaceX to clarify.

                    • Joe

                      “If there’s a discrepancy between the two assertions, then that’s something for SpaceX to clarify.”

                      Do not misunderstand me, that is exactly my point.

                    • Leonidas Papadopoulos

                      There’s no misunderstanding Joe, it’s OK, that’s my point as well.

                      Best regards.

          • SpaceX is NOT as open as Ken claims. I would know, it’s my job to cover their progress as a photojournalist, & most of the media corp I know at KSC & Cape Canaveral have not a nice thing to say about how OPEN SpaceX is, or rather isn’t, because they are not – and Joe’s question proves my point.

            Joe Musk & SpaceX said exactly what I reported

            “This will be the first fully printed engine” – Elon Musk

            They announced in Sep 2013 their interest in 3d printing, watch – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNqs_S-zEBY&feature=youtu.be

            Any non-information or LACK OF information is on SpaceX, not my reporting.

            – Mike Killian

            • Joe

              Mike,

              Thanks. I never intended to question your reporting.

              What you say reinforces what my point.

            • ken anthony

              Mike, I stand by my statement that SpaceX is ‘one of the most open companies.’ That is just my opinion. YMMV.

              I also know, from personal experience, that being too open is dangerous to a company. Announcing something too soon has put many companies out of business even when the product was a good one (sometimes by drying up sales of existing products needed to fund the new.)

              We could argue to no purpose but my opinion is, SpaceX handles this pretty well but not perfectly.

              Why do we demand perfection anyway? Good is good enough.

          • ken anthony

            Are you saying you know from independent sources

            I’m saying it’s obvious if you’ve followed them since 2002 which includes tons of sources. Where needed I always try to include my sources.

            People (and I believe you, I and Elon are among this set) often speak with imprecision. This isn’t always wrong. Often we need to be generous in understanding or we’d all be lost in all the qualifications we’d have to give every time we speak. People don’t do that. They depend on the listener being at least a bit generous in understanding what they mean rather than what they say.

            Perhaps we should use some other protocol than language?

            So do you want to go octal or hexadecimal? 😉

            • Joe

              Vaguely worded but it appears you mean you only believe they have been testing, based on “tons of sources” you do not choose to specify.

              You seem to be allowing that “Elon” spoke with “imprecision”.

              Whatever you unsubstantiated opinions of other people’s veracity are you acknowledging that Musk’s statement that – “This will be the first fully printed engine” – is factually inaccurate or not?

              • ken anthony

                I would disagree with Musk. But I also think I understand why he said it.

                • Joe

                  So you understand and approve of Musk making (to put it politely) factually inaccurate statements.

                  I would suggest everyone keep that in mind when evaluating your future postings.

                  • ken anthony

                    Only god is perfect. Perhaps you are as well, but I’d bet against it. I know I’m not. Elon isn’t either.

                    Have you always demanded perfection from others? You will be disappointed repeatedly.

                    • Joe

                      I am far from perfect, but I do try to be honest.

                      I do not even try to ask (much less demand)perfection from others, but I do expect them to attempt honesty.

                      Apparently that concept is foreign to you.

                      This conversation (as far as I am concerned) has run its course. I will not respond to any further back and forth on this.

                    • ken anthony

                      Apparently that concept is foreign to you.

                      Uncalled for. You’re better than that Joe.

      • James B Franks

        One thing to keep in mind is that the Draco family are pressure fed hypergolic engines. Other then valves and sensors the chamber is the engine.

        • Joe

          In that case the rest of the engine would be the valves and sensors, the nozzles, and the pressure tanks themselves (and probably some more things as well).

          It is not my intent to say the combustion chamber is trivial, but even in pressure fed engines it is by far not the entire engine. In fact the function of all of those other parts is just as critical and in some cases more complex than the combustion chamber.

          It is therefore still misleading (to put it politely) to say “This will be the first fully printed engine”, if only the combustion chamber is manufactured that way.

        • Joe

          Sorry about the double posting, but I have a question.

          This is the first time I have paid particular attention to the Dragon engines.

          You say the engines will use hypergolic propellants, would that be Nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) and Mono Methyl hydrazine (MMH) as was used in the Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines?

  • Alan

    What’s with the seating?
    There are no arm rests. Also no support for the lower legs.
    Also the switches are not protected from inadvertent activation.

    • Joe

      Hi Alan,

      Good points all.

      There is a further discussion of the interior of the Crew Dragon in the comments section of the article “Who Will Fly Aboard Boeing’s First Private CST-100 ‘Space Taxi’? One-on-One Interview With Chris Ferguson, Last Shuttle Commander” by Ken Kremer below.

    • ken anthony

      They aren’t going to get the ergonomics right until they get live feedback. You would think they’d have switch guard though. Now that it’s been unveiled I expect they will get lots of useful feedback like that before they ever fly it.

      • Joe

        Basic design for Human Interfaces for safety in high performance aerospace craft date back to at least World War II. Design guides have existed for decades and are regularly updated.

        They should not need “live feedback” (which could very well come at a high human cost) or “useful feedback” from their presentation. They only need trained personnel using long established industry standards to do their jobs.

        If that prototype (or whatever you want to call it) is really all they have done in human interface engineering, they have a lot of expensive and time consuming rework to do.

        • ken anthony

          The problem with using documents rather than feedback is exactly what’s wrong with the industry. It stifles real progress.

          Sometimes even the documents are wrong. Haven’t you heard of the mother teaching the daughter how to make potroast by cutting off both ends. The daughter asked why they do that and the mother didn’t know. Grandma taught her to do that, so they asked grandma. It was because the roast didn’t fit in grandma’s shorter pan.

          Doing it the way you always do it is guaranteed to be wrong eventually. Safe is not always safest. It can actually lead to unsafe.

          Col. Boyd even said the problem with pilot training is that we’re not killing enough pilots. See Rand’s new book, Safe is not an Option.

          • Joe

            The documents are updated regularly to avoid designers missing newly learned information.

            SpaceX has (if you actually believe their prototype Dragon crew vehicle should be taken seriously) completely ignored all past lessons learned (even switch guards).

            The fact that you do not understand that (or at least pretend not to) is why you cannot be taken seriously.

            As for Simberg’s new vanity press book, he is a legend in his own mind (and apparently yours).

            • ken anthony

              They are where they are today because they did look at past failure modes. They aren’t perfect. Faith in docs rather than experience is a big problem.

              Docs institutionalize experience. They also codify wrong lessons learned. They are part of what you need. They are not all of what you need.

              SpaceX track record suggests they will continue to make progress but they will kill some people eventually. That hasn’t stopped us from driving cars and docs will not prevent those deaths. You can’t even assert they will prevent any deaths although they might.

              • Joe

                “They are where they are today because they did look at past failure modes.”

                If that were true there would be switch guards on their manual controls.

                The rest of your post only continues to reinforce the fact that you are ignorant of anything to do with engineering design.

                Then again since you keep referring to the fact that people do get killed occasionally as if it were an excuse to ignore lessons learned and re-learn those lessons by letting people get killed without need probably makes your lack of expertise superfluous.

                If you want to be a member of a death cult you will no matter what.

                I will not be responding to any more posts on this conversation, as they would be pointless.

                • ken anthony

                  If that were true there would be switch guards on their manual controls.

                  Your logic is faulty. Just because they don’t do everything you want them to doesn’t mean they didn’t do other things.

        • ken anthony

          They only need trained personnel using long established industry standards to do their jobs.

          FIFY.

          • Joe

            Yes they do and they obviously do not have them in the human factors area.

            Why you think you Fixed It For Me (FIFY), or why you would want to use an acronym to denote that non-fact is subject to speculation.

            Was your mental development arrested at about age fourteen?

            I will not be responding to any more posts on this conversation, as they would be pointless.

            • ken anthony

              Use of the word only invalidates your point.

              All mental development is arrested. Haven’t met too many godlike geniuses in my time.

  • Alan

    Hi,
    Is the dragon capsule capable to handle emergency eva’s?
    What about the other competing capsules?

    • Joe

      The best information available is no.

      To be EVA capable would require a number of extra design requirements and because they are LEO only vehicles the default in case of an emergency is to go home.

      The Boeing CST-100 does not even have launch/entry suits.

      • ken anthony

        Dragon does not have an airlock but is not a LEO only vehicle Mars One has it (a wider variation) on their [gantt chart?] for example. Zubrin has a document showing 2 crew using a Dragon to go to mars (requiring extra inflated volume.)

        • Joe

          So Zubrin is now placing requirements on the Dragon. Would you please provide a link to where this arrangement is specified?

          • ken anthony

            Zubrin has a pdf among many others at the mars society site that I’m not going to take the time to find right now but he’s not shy about talking about it from this old article.

            Think of the Dragon as the starting point of many variations.

  • Tracy the Troll

    Joe,
    You suggested I read “Halfway to Anywhere” by Stein…Wow I really understand just how government space ship building is very “complicated”…I would not be surprised that as soon as SpaceX completes the total reuse program that LM doesn’t rollout out a SSTO craft based on the Venture Star and X-33…I feel pretty certain that the composite tank fabricating issues have been resolved….

    • Joe

      While I do not agree with all your conclusions, I am glad you enjoyed the book.

      • Tracy the Troll

        It does appear that there is a Race to Mars developing between NASA, their international partners and MARSONE (the one way Colony builders) and it looks like the MARSONE group will be their first as they are not going to put down the heavy hardware that NASA will just…”pup tents”…Hook together a few Dragon V2s and they are done… And all of this will be televised by Big Brother…How exciting

        • ken anthony

          Mars One really is a suicide mission, but a fixable one IMHO.

          I like that they are focusing on existing hardware from companies with a track record. I do not like that they are not fully committed to ISRU or property ownership.

          26 months is a long time to wait for replacement parts. They should better understand the need to make that NOT a requirement.

          • Tracy the Troll

            Ken,
            MarsOne a suicide mission….Really? Maybe…. But these people are willing to go and try… And their sacrifices is how the average person will get to Mars…Not by NASA… The infrastructure is being developed as we speak…Once SpaceX Reusable Rockets are established which looks like they are on schedule for 2 to 3 years then Bigelow inflatable station modules will be launched in mass. Sooner rather than later large mass propulsion units will be attached to the BA modules and off they will go to the Red Planet with several Dragons V2 for mars landings which will be powered by a methane engine which will be produced from the Mars atmosphere (This is ISRU). Repeat every 2 years and yes there will be plenty of ISRU components involved and private property rights after about 10 people get on the planet as some of them decide to relocate to a new location on the planet…

            • ken anthony

              Yes, it is because they are relying on two life support units that will break and need repair. Instead they should rely on basic gaslight era chemistry that every colonist should have a full understanding of so any can produce more habitats with life support that doesn’t depend on parts from earth.

              I said it was fixable. I’m a big fan of Mars One. I think they will only get about 25% of their funding meaning they will not keep to their time frame. I hope they do not give up and remain flexible.

              • Tracy the Troll

                Ken,
                The Marsone group has said it will cost $6B US to get Mars…With SpaceX reusability rockets and BA modules I am thinking the cost will be closer to $2B US…Because I think the Hardware companies will provide their tech as Cost or less for marketing purposes.

                • ken anthony

                  Over a billion per colonist is what they plan. This is why they should send more than four at a time to get the cost per colonist down.

                  Musk plans 100 per launch eventually. The same hardware will send fewer with more supplies on earlier missions. It looks good to me being possibly easier to land in the thin atmosphere than a smaller ship like the Dragon.

  • Tracy the Troll

    See the attached article…Nasa really does NOT have a plan to get to Mars anytime soon… So I guess its up to MARSONE and SpaceX….
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nrc-human-spaceflight-report-says-nasa-strategy-cant-get-humans-to-mars/2014/06/04/e6e6060c-ebd6-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html