And, here it is, Dragon V2 unveiled by Elon Musk of SpaceX. It has been nicely edited since I first put it up (YouTube stated it had 0 views when I first posted this and there was a huge amount of opening music when the unveiling was delayed so this is much better now). As you'll see, there are some serious changes in the next generation Dragon.
The version 2 has quite a different appearance, making room for the larger propulsive thrusters for a soft landing on land. It is parachute capable as well. The cabin, if this is what it will look like in the end, is quite luxurious looking. We'll see how this all sorts out.
For additional information, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/05/self-driving-cars-and-dragons-carrying.html
I've had to link a previous post from SpaceX here as the company took down the video, an animation showing Dragon version 1 making the landing tests version 2, which looks quite different, will make. Here's what I said:
The SpaceX gang is getting ready to move on to the next stage of the Dragon's development. As you can see from the simulation, the idea is to make return the Dragon capsule (currently the only capsule that can carry cargo and experiments both to and from the International Space Station) and now they want to take it to the next level. The idea is to return the capsule to land riding pillars of fire back to the ground for a soft landing. At first, parachutes will augment the landing ... eventually only the rockets on the capsule.
In time, if this system works properly, the idea will be to convert this next phase of Dragon capsule into a crew module that Elon Musk ... in some future iteration ... would like to see go to Mars and back.
To make the SpaceX rockets more economical, the idea will be to have every stage return to the ground using this landing system, landing on legs on the ground, to be refurbished and reused. It's an exciting possibility. I hope they make it work.
For additional blog posts on SpaceX and their spacecraft, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2013/03/spacex-dragon-launches.html, http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2012/05/spacex-boldly-looks-to-blast-millions.html, http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/09/spacex-chief-details-reusable-rocket.html, and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/08/spacex-on-mars-saving-human-spaceflight.html
NASA is moving forward with Mars plans as well, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/05/nasas-path-to-mars.html
For the most popular post I have ever written on the progress we've made in manned spaceflight, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2010/03/progress-in-manned-space-flight.html
For more on the SpaceX Dragon from SpaceX, see: http://www.spacex.com/dragon