Orbital Science Ship Arrives

Cygnus_Orb-D1.5

Cygnus

Orbital Science’s cargo spacecraft, Cygnus, arrived safely at the International Space Station with 2,780 pounds of supplies and scientific instruments.  http://bit.ly/1dHN8Ct  SpaceX and its Dragon spacecraft are also contracted for resupply missions as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services project.  Some of you may remember when NASA’s Shuttle was advertised as a “space truck” and the beginning of an era when space flight would be as common as airplanes are today.  Maybe today’s commercial space companies will deliver on that promise.

cygnus-arriving-iss

Arrives at ISS

What will future companies find profitable in space?  Communications satellites are so common we only notice them when a problem pops up.  Google Earth and GPS are part of every-day life.  When we add stations on the moon or Mars, will they be government projects or private?  Will metals mined from asteroids ever compete with mines here on Earth, or will zero-g manufacturing become indespensible?  It’s all hard to envision today, but maybe that’s what people said about the airplane.

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