Private companies building new spaceships to soar through orbital and suborbital space are looking forward to an action-packed year in 2013, with new flight tests, launches, wind tunnel tests and rocket technology trials all planned during the new year.
Of the many spacecraft being developed only one has already flown in space, the Dragon capsule built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, Calif. The unmanned cargo ship has flown in space three times so far, and carried supplies to the International Space Station twice in 2012 — first in May during a test and then again October.
SpaceX’s next cargo flight to the station is set for May 2013. But a new astronaut-carrying version of Dragon is also in the works. The crewed capsule will be different from its robotic predecessor in several key areas, with SpaceX set to advancing technology for the new ship in 2013.
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