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'Space Freighter' On Its Way to Resupply International Space Station 85

SchrodingerZ writes "An ATV 'Space truck' [launched Friday] from Kourou base in French Guiana to the International Space Station. 'The robotic truck is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) with new supplies of food, water, air, and fuel.' It launched at 04:34 GMT for a 63 minute flight into orbit. At 20 tonnes, the ATV is the biggest ship servicing the station now that the U.S. shuttles have been retired. The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) launched with a Ariane 5 carrier rocket, it is the 'third such craft to be sent to the station by ESA (European Space Agency).' It will dock with the ISS on the night of the 28th and 29th, Paris time."
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'Space Freighter' On Its Way to Resupply International Space Station

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2012 @11:58AM (#39460857)
    Has there been a single commercial launch of any of these paper rockets?
  • by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <> on Saturday March 24, 2012 @12:25PM (#39460997)

    Thanks for that, funniest thing I read all day, you my friend might have a future in satire comedy :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2012 @12:31PM (#39461023)

    If Bush hadn't blown a trillion dollars on the Iraq war, maybe Obama would have had more options.

    As for Romney or Frothy: do either of these religious nutcases actually believe in science?

    I'm guessing all your hopes rest on Gingrinch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2012 @01:03PM (#39461195)

    If Obama hadn't thrown a roughly equal amount on the stimulus....

    You would have been worse off :)
    oh, and didn't Bush also do some stimulus package?
    (Anyways, you can be sure Fox would complain no matter what he did)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2012 @02:34PM (#39461657)

    Correct, and they're banging this out for comparative pennies on the dollar. The take-away is that we've chosen our direction, and it's the only way to make real progress.

    Another space truck is below NASA. They did it for decades. Now private companies like SpaceX are in the process of providing those services, including plans for manned flight in their Dragon capsule.

    NASA is, and arguably should be, working on exploration. New, exciting, difficult work... not spending their entire budget on trucking rations to the ISS in old, expensive clunkers.

    People smarter than us have seen this new direction coming and it's working out well. []

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @02:34PM (#39461665) Homepage Journal

    Two years from now, you won't be asking this question, and your children may ride on commercial space ships.

    I very much hope you're right. But you can't be sure you're right, and neither can anyone else. Meanwhile, you may have noticed that there's a space station in orbit that needs resupply now, not at some indefinite point in the future.

    Commercial space ships are a giant wave of the future (

    This looks like a fun game! Can I play?
    Social networking is the wave of the future (
    Fusion power is the wave of the future (
    Printed newspapers are the wave of the future (

    You remind me of this: "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value," -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch

    Straw man. GPP wasn't questioning the value of space travel; he was questioning the value of the specific approach of SpaceX and other companies which are claiming that they will offer reliable space transportation at dramatically lower costs than government space agencies have so far managed to do. And they may be right, but so far, nobody knows for sure. What we do know for sure is that we have been hearing optimistic "we can do X for $Y" statements pretty much since the beginning of the space age, and no matter who's saying it, the price always turns out to be $ZY, for values of Z much greater than 1.

    BTW, that Foch quote was from 1911; I suspect that a few years later, he'd have freely admitted he was wrong. Equally wrong was Giulio Douhet, in 1921: "Would not the sight of a single enemy airplane be enough to induce a formidable panic? Normal life would be unable to continue under the constant threat of death and imminent destruction." Look at the position taken by the pessimists, and that taken by the visionaries, and the reality is usually somewhere in the middle. Also, it's interesting to note that it was precisely the massive government investment (on all sides of the conflict) in aviation technology in WW1 that spurred the growth of the aviation industry in the interwar years, and laid the groundwork for the equally massive, government-investment-funded growth during WW2. In 1911, airplanes were toys. By 1918, they were reliable and sophisticated machines. And this did not happen as a result of visionaries and dreamers, but of hard military necessity.

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @08:11PM (#39463367)

    Space-X's rocket is hardly a paper rocket. It actually exists, has been fired several times, and has had two test flights that were fairly successful. Later this year a test flight will carry actual cargo to the space station. Space-X is in my estimation only about 2 years away from being able to do regular cargo runs to the space station. Their human-rated Dragon capsule is also coming along nicely. Their design looks good, and by combining the escape system with the maneuvering system they've managed to reduce weight and increase reliability and safety over the systems used by the old Apollo program and the current Soyuz program. In about 6 years they will be able to fly astronauts to the space station (really).

    I'm very excited about what they are doing. I hope that NASA and the government support them because they really are doing good work, and doing things that NASA can't (if because it's pulled 8 ways by different levels of government). Right now it looks like Space-X is really our only chance to get humans into space. Why waste more money on paper rockets like constellation, or even the Orion capsule at this stage.

    There are other companies like Boeing, Bigelow, and others that are in the running too. They should be supported, and given NASA contracts where appropriate.

    I find the skepticism, particularly on the part of Republicans, to private space flight be very puzzling. Their sarcastic congratulations to Space-X for doing what NASA did 50 years ago was really grating. I'd think that they'd be very excited that a private company is having success. Granted all rockets these days are made by private companies, but they are typically funded in large part by government (air force, NASA, etc).

  • by M1FCJ ( 586251 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @09:03AM (#39465513) Homepage

    The reason they are against it is plain and simple: "They're not in control of it". All of these small private companies have managed to beat Boeing and Lockheed with a fraction of the budget and pork barreling and they don't like that fact a bit at all.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!