SpaceX's new crew capsule successfully docked at the International Space Station on Sunday. NASA said it's a "first for a commercially built & operated spacecraft designed for crew." NASA has relied on Russian rockets to send its astronauts to space for a decade. And since seats in Russian rockets cost roughly $80 million per astronaut, NASA has looked to the private sector to make space travel a little more cost-effective. If nothing goes wrong during the demo mission, the Crew Dragon capsule's design could be used later this year to take two NASA astronauts to the space station.
Class discussion: How many companies are already building and launching spacecraft? Do you think these private businesses can do a better job of launching satellites and astronauts than the government? The SpaceX capsule navigated to the space station and docked without the help of a pilot. Can computers do a better job of flying spacecraft than human pilots? How much space exploration should be done by humans? How much by robots?