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ENDING RUSSIA’S CHOKEHOLD ON THE ISS?

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Could Dragon V2 Be The Answer?
By Harold Hutchison

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the United States has been dependent on Russia to get access to the International Space Station. That dependence was highlighted during the Ukraine crisis. However, that may be coming to an end.

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft approaching the ISS.
(NASA photo)

According to a report by DefenseTech.org, the Dragon V2, which was unveiled this past week by SpaceX, could be the answer to America’s need for access to the ISS as soon as 2016. In addition, like the Space Shuttle, Dragon V2 will be reusable.

“You can just reload propellant and fly again,” SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk said. “This is extremely important for revolutionizing access to space because so long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft we will never have true access to space. It will always be incredibly expensive.”

The key to the Dragon V2’s reusability are eight SpaceDraco engines that will enable to spacecraft to land anywhere on Earth. The spacecraft, like its predecessor, will also be able to use parachutes to land in the ocean.

Earlier versions of the Dragon have docked with the ISS multiple times. The new Dragon V2 will be able to carry as many as seven crewmen to and from the space station.