SpaceX Eyes Replacing Space Shuttle

Hawthorne-based SpaceX, the commercial spacecraft and rocket development firm headed by Elon Musk, told its supporters in an email Monday that it is targeting use of its technology as a replacement for the Space Shuttle. According to SpaceX, it believes that its Falcon 9 and Dragon is the "safest path to crew transportation capability," and that it believes it can send astronauts to and from the International Space Station for "less than half the cost" of the estimated $50M per seat NASA is expected to pay to use the Russian Soyuz to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. As part of that effort, the firm said that on December 13th, the firm submitted a proposal to NASA's Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev2) to begin working on preparing its Dragon capsule to carry astronauts. The firm called the proposal as a "critical step" towards developing an American alternative to the Russian Soyuz. SpaceX did not say what response it received from NASA on the new proposal.