Musk on SpaceX’s capsule project

During the Q&A session after his speech Thursday morning at the ISDC, Elon Musk of SpaceX divulged some details about the development of a manned capsule the company has been quietly working on. “It’s been a low priority because obviously we have to get the booster right before,” and his voice trailed off to some laughter from the crowd. “We’re putting the cart before the horse.” He revealed that work on the capsule has actually been on hold for some time. “We stopped work on our prototype manned capsule a little over a year ago because it was way ahead of the booster.” Winning a NASA COTS contract, he said, would accelerate the development of the capsule: with that funding he believes the capsule would be ready to fly in 2009. “If we don’t, then it probably gets delayed by a couple of years” to around 2011, he said. He added that without the COTS funding SpaceX would develop a “scaled down version” of the capsule “with a little less capability.”

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