SpaceX’s Dragon capsule docks with Space Station and the cost per pound for delivery

On Saturday, astronauts on board the International Space Station docked with and entered a privately designed, built, and funded resupply ship. Count that as a major victory for SpaceX specifically and private space travel in general.

The Wall Street Journal has two great articles:

Here is a one paragraph summary of the plan:

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Private space travel is here

The Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station.

This is significant because SpaceX privately developed and funded the Falcon 9 lift vehicle and Dragon capsule.

The Dragon had to pass quite a few tests before it was allowed to draw near the ISS and then be grabbed by the remote arm.

Very cool. Congratulations to the SpaceX team.

AP has an article – Dragon arrives at space station in historic 1st

Some skepticism on mining asteroids

Count The Economist as skeptical on the plans Planetary Resources has to mine asteroids as one step in their privately funded space exploration efforts.

In their article, Going platinum, they survey some of the hurdles.

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Mining asteroids? I get it!

An organization called Planetary Resources had their big press conference yesterday announcing their plans to mine asteroids for raw materials that will facilitate private space travel.  I mentioned this here and here.

I’ve barely started reading their website, but that’s enough for me to ‘get it’.  With other work commitments I will have to get back to this later, but wanted to highlight it now.

An article in The New York Times provides more background – In Pursuit of Riches, and Travelers’ Supplies, in the Asteroid Belt

Here’s the concept in one paragraph from Planetary Resources’ web site – mind-boggling amounts of natural resources have yet to be discovered:

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Private space travel – connecting some dots

Previous post discussed mining asteroids to get raw materials for space exploration. 

Ponder the idea of private space travel and tie that to mining asteroids for some really wild possibilities for change in the future.

This video from Reason.TV is a bit smart alack, but makes a number of points about the future of private space travel:


It’s a short video talking about the final shuttle being retired and moved to DC where it will reside at the Air and Space Museum. Check it out.  Here are some of my favorite lines:

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Mining asteroids?

Here’s a brain stretcher for you.

People with money to back their ideas are thinking about mining asteroids for natural resources.

After you finish chuckling, consider the materials needed for extended space travel and the cost of lifting them from earth into space.  How about pulling those resources off an asteroid, since its already in space?

Like I said, it’s a stretch.

And yet…

An outfit called Planetary Resources is planning to research the idea and figure out how to pull it off.

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Private sector rocket launches will resupply space station

SpaceX will launch it’s first space shot on a resupply flight to the space station in late November.  NASA gave technical approval to the launch.

Update – the SpaceX resupply mission was a success.

Why is this discussion in a blog about nonprofit issues? Three reasons.

First, is a superb illustration of stretching our brains. In the nonprofit sector we need to be intentionally thinking about the future. See my discussions here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Just the idea of private space flights will stretch our brain.

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