This is just cool. Here is a NASA astronaut describing the public-private partnership between SpaceX and NASA with this upcoming logistics mission. Dragon is the name of the supply capsule, mounted on a Falcon 9 rocket, that will be sent to the International Space Station to resupply it. Dragon would be the first commercial spacecraft to perform this mission at the ISS.
Not only that, but government needs SpaceX to get this right. We are talking about delivering the essentials of life–food, etc. and there are people in space who are depending on these deliveries. So all eyes will be on this company and their team of quality control folks, engineers, and everyone in between on getting this thing off the ground and delivering like a champ. (which this will be a really interesting case study for how private industry will do this versus how NASA used to do this–differences, similarities, cost savings, etc.)
What I really enjoyed though was the comparison of today’s public-private partnership, to yesteryear’s use of private industry to support the expansion out west. I have discussed this partnership when it came to scouts and the Army, and Don Pettit’s example of contractors supplying forts is another one.
Not only that, but today’s contractors in the war have been immensely important to the task of supplying military outposts and supporting logistics missions all over. So yes, when I see a government Astronaut talking about contractors and commercial spaceflight, while he is in space, I rate that as pretty awesome. Check it out. -Matt