These Are The Reactions Of An ISS Astronaut To SpaceX's Dragon

On Friday, history was made as SpaceX's Dragon docked with the International Space Station, marking the start of a future of privatiszd space exploration. Now, one of the astronauts aboard the ISS has shared his reactions to Dragon and posted them on his blog.

André Kuipers, a Dutch physician and astronaut with the European Space Agency, is currently aboard the ISS, so he was there when Dragon docked. In fact, he took the photo of Dragon's interior which is published at the top of this post. He describes the craft as:

"Beautiful. Spacious, Modern. Blue LEDs. Feels a bit like a sci-fi filmset. Of course it is from Los Angeles."

He goes on to share his thoughts about what the project means to him and the future of space travel:

"Last Friday was a special day on my mission. Don and I docked the SpaceX's cargoship Dragon to the Space Station. Dragon brings new equipment for the crew. On the 31st of May it will return to Earth with supplies from the others and myself. The Dragon mission is the operational highlight of my mission. But it is also a milestone for international spaceflight. This is the first time that a commercial spacecraft has flown to the ISS and docked with the Station. You could say a new era of spaceflight has begun. Soon private companies will take people to and from space."

Seeing as this is the first of twelve flights that Dragon is scheduled to make to the ISS, he's correct in saying that the new age has already begun. [André Kuipers]

Image by ESA/NASA

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    Yeah... "private funding" is a biiiiiiit of a lie in reality, since NASA actually paid for this. It's government funded in actuality. And it's only through government contracts like resupplying the Space-station that this thing is going to do anything real in the short term.
    It's a smaller step than you imagine, but things have to begin somewhere and the USA is way too right off centre to keep massively huge expensive things like NASA on the books indefinitely. They'll still be paying for it, but more money will make it's way into high paid CEO and shareholder pockets instead.

    I don't mean to be a downer and a prick (I am, I know), but in the end that's the reality of this sort of "private" industry- just like any big defence contracts.

      No-one said private funding, they said private company. They render their services to anyone who can pay, which happens to be nasa in this instance. I hear the government also buys a lot of pencils from private companies.

    Yeah, this really is just money going from Gov to a private company like everything else Govs do when they want to "save money" by not doing it themselves.
    It's a bit weird. And what happens when bidding-wars commence and cost-cutting measures start taking effect...

    And the thing about a private service provider is that would be keen manage costs so the big leap is the potential for cost effective space transport.

    "Sci-fi film set"! Dude! You're in a frikkin space station! Isn't that enough! *chuckle*

    It's still to early to say that a new-era in space travel has begun. For sure, we are starting to reach a point in which wealthy companies can do just about anything a government can, and I have no doubt that within 50 years, NASA probably won't exist or will be relegated to some advisory/regulatory agency.

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