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SpaceX CEO Unveils New Dragon V2 Spacecraft

SpaceX's new vessel, dubbed the Dragon V2, was introduced to the public Thursday.
Posted at 11:27 AM, May 30, 2014

Science fiction may not be as far off as we thought. At least, that's what everyone was thinking when SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled his company's latest spacecraft Thursday. 

Nicknamed the "Dragon V2," the seven-man vessel could be a game-changer for U.S. space travel. Not only is it able to take astronauts both to and from the International Space Station, but it'll be ready to go straight back into space right after a mission, unlike most spacecraft. (Via SpaceX)

The V2 also does away with those pesky parachutes and instead uses thrusters to land, like something straight out of a Spielberg flick. (Via The Washington Post)

All these economic features, Musk says, are crucial to an affordable and sustainable space program.

He told CNN, "As long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never have true access to space. It will always be incredibly expensive."

NASA's fleet of space shuttles was retired in 2011, and since then, the U.S. has had to rely on Russia to get its astronauts to the International Space Station. It's not exactly the cheapest method at $71 million a seat.

Musk told The Telegraph his spacecraft would allow an astronaut to travel round-trip for less than $20 million and frequent space flight could even get the price down to single-digit millions.

"We really want to get to the point where there can be thousands of space flights a year, ultimately where we can have a base on the moon and a base on Mars and become a multiplanet species and a true space-ranked civilization."

The Dragon V2 is slated to make its first manned flight test by the end of 2016.