Elon Musk seems to have ditched plans to send a Dragon spacecraft to Mars. Musk confirmed that SpaceX will no longer attempt to use the Dragon spacecraft for propulsive crew landings, according to a report in SpaceNews. Musk cited the immense efforts needed to qualify the Dragon for crew landings as a reason for looking at a superior approach. The Dragon spacecraft will still have the thrusters, which were designed primarily as an emergency abort mechanism.
The Dragon Spacecraft was meant too start off an ambitious plan by SpaceX for establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. The Dragon spacecraft had been slotted for pathfinding missions to Mars, and was referred to as the Red Dragon after the colour of the planet. The first Red Dragon mission was planned for 2018, and the second one in 2020. The development means that these two missions have been shelved.
Plan is to do powered landings on Mars for sure, but with a vastly bigger ship
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 19, 2017
Musk and SpaceX have apparently come up with a better and cheaper approach for propulsively landing spacecraft on Mars. The details of the revised Interplanetary Transport System may be presented at the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide, Australia. The alternative system still uses propulsive landing, but apparently with a larger spacecraft. The revised infrastructure to make human life interplanetary is likely to use the new raptor engines.
Updated Date: Jul 20, 2017 14:45 PM