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Dragon Mission Update: Dragon spent last night through today firing thrusters to catch up to the International Space Station. First maneuver for fly under is predicted to be Thursday at approximately 1:00 am PT with crew ops occurring after. Upcoming highlight is crew commanding Dragon's strobe light to show the vehicle can receive astronauts' commands.
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Is +SpaceX focusing completely on remote space flight, or are there immediate plans to include astronauts within your space vehicles?
Dragon is capable of flying with seven astronauts.
+Lawrence J Hodgins This mission is under the COTS project of NASA, whose goal is explicitly to get to the stage where manned missions to the space station will happen under the management and on the equipment of a private firm.
And a bit of a clarification on +Brian Raker's comment; the Dragon capsule can be configured to fly with astronauts, or configured to use the whole payload for cargo. So right now, it is not flying with wasted space for missing astronauts - there is something akin to a crew cabin that gets installed (not sure if it is a single piece, or set of components).
+SpaceX How is Dragon viewed as a large step forward for the American space program? Am I being too nationalistic to view this as an American space program?
Dragon is a step forward for NASA, assuming it succeeds and moves forward to crewed missions, because it then frees up NASA to focus on deep space missions instead of local 'puddle-jump' missions. It means that it can focus on once again building rockets that can get manned missions beyond earth orbit; i.e. the Moon or Mars.

It is a step forward for the world as a whole because it marks the beginning of real market competition in satellite launches, and should dramatically reduce the cost per lb of launches into Earth orbit.

It is a step forward for science because it means cheaper launches for scientific missions, yes, but also (hopefully) because it renews the potential for repair missions to our scientific equipment. I say hopefully, because it lacks the cargo bay for bringing a satellite into a safe environment for repairs, and I do not know if it actually will have support for extra-vehicular missions or not.

However, even if Dragon does not have such support, the launch system, particularly the upcoming Falcon Heavy, promises the ability to get a vehicle with such capacity into orbit on a tested platform, if and when such is designed.
It is also much closer to fulfilling the original intent of the Shuttle program - that of being a literal shuttle, of making regular, frequent flights.
How about a human space program for a change?
+Lawrence J Hodgins As for the qualification of "American", I realize it might be hard for somebody from Arizona to accept, but California (where SpaceX is based) is actually considered part of America :-)
+Rennie Allen My point is this - is Dragon "ISS" in nature where several nations invest in this program, or is this solely serving NASA and other US governmental agencies.
+SpaceX is a private enterprise, and will launch for anyone who can come up with the funds.
+Lawrence J Hodgins The Falcon 9 is simply a launch vehicle. Supporting the USA's commitment to the ISS is one job it might do, but it is a major leap, because private enterprise will bring launch costs down for everyone.
This is just amazing, space is being taken over by private industries with a lot of money, bye-bye NASA!
+Jimmy Buzaid Can you imagine how much air travel would cost, if there were only a single government owned airline? This is just the natural progression of transportation, and it is way behind schedule as far as I am concerned....
+Lawrence J Hodgins, I suspect that under the COTS contract, Dragon will be supporting the international partners as well. It will be the only vehicle with cargo-return capability and thus is useful to all the partners. The US Government will however be the government paying for it, as part of its obligations to the international partnership.

+Jimmy Buzaid, human spaceflight is as of yet not being taken over by private industry anymore than various National Labs are controlled by private industry. Other aspects of space utilization are conducted by both the public and private sectors. Lastly, until the teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize land, the exploration of the solar system continues to be the sole domain of public entities (unless I missed something).
Too bad all the critical maneuver and coverage so far are in midnight. I am afraid I cannot watch them that often.
Com'on +SpaceX, be a good company and answer the several interesting questions directed to you guys! :)
SpaceX has recieved development funds from NASA but not from any other government, however I believe that Brazil has a strong desire for a space program and could become a major customer in the future ...
Today's rendevous and circle around went well along with test of remote control from ISS to Dragon. Tomorrow's hookup is green light to go! Big party tomorrow night!

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