The successful launch early this morning of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft payload on a pioneering demonstration flight for NASA to the International Space Station has blazed a trail through conventional wisdom when it comes to spaceflight. In doing so, SpaceX has defied the doubts of U.S. lawmakers and forged a path to soon be followed by several competing commercial spaceflight developers.
With this in mind, we at Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC have taken a quick industry snapshot of planned commercial human space transportation systems currently in varied stages of physical testing, including a matrix of possible destinations as declared by flight providers.
It should be noted that this matrix is not exhaustive, though a view of even the current leading providers demonstrates an exciting wave of technology development by multiple ventures – all acting to open space to humankind.
Of note is that while suborbital spacecraft are limited by design to ballistic flights to the edge of space, it remains to be seen whether suborbital technology will lead to crossover development of orbital transportation systems by current suborbital providers. (For example, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic has himself stated an ultimate goal to provide orbital spacecraft.)
In all cases, manned spaceflight will require a robust network of human spaceflight support services, which Astrowright aims to lead with a unique suite of offerings. These include custom preflight fitness, personal dosimetry, flight readiness testing, and microgravity product evaluation services.
For more information about Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC, visit www.astrowright.com.