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SpaceX unveils crewed version of Dragon spacecraft
Posted: Fri, May 30, 2014, 7:32 PM ET (2332 GMT)
Dragon V2 unveiing (J. Foust) SpaceX, one of three companies competing for a commercial crew contract from NASA, unveiled Thursday night the crewed version of of its Dragon spacecraft that the company says could carry people into orbit as soon as 2016. The Dragon V2 spacecraft is designed to carry up to seven people to and from the International Space Station or other destinations in low Earth orbit. The spacecraft is equipped with new "SuperDraco" thrusters that can be used as a launch escape system in an emergency and, in normal flight, to perform powered landings. An initial orbital test flight of Dragon V2 could take place as soon as late 2015, with a crewed mission to follow in 2016, according to the company. SpaceX is competing with Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corporation for contracts in the next phase of NASA's commercial crew program, which would cover development and initial flights of such spacecraft. NASA is expected to award one or more contracts late this summer.
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