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Tesla to launch space taxis by 2016

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A lot of people think Tesla’s cars are “out of this world,” and the company looks to prove them right as it sets its sights on developing a Space Taxi capable of carrying up to 7 passengers and as much as 4 tons of cargo to the International Space Station and back within two years.

Known as the Dragon V2, the vehicle is being designed at Tesla owned Space Exploration Technologies Corp. SpaceX factory in Hawthorne, CA. SpaceX is one of four companies currently receiving NASA funding to develop rockets and capsules to take astronauts to and from the International Space Station and free the US from dependence on Russia’s Soyuz rockets since the government canceled the Space Shuttle program. The others are Blue Origin LLC (owned by Jeff Bezos), Boeing, and Sierra Nevada Corp.

It should also be known that Russia currently charges the United States $76 million per mission to transport our astronauts to the station, and has threatened to withdraw the service in retaliation for economic sanctions imposed by the G7 in light of its invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. SpaceX, however, believes it can deliver passengers for less than $20 million, states Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

“On top of that, we actually expect to be able to transport crew by 2016, a year before NASA needs it,” he added.

At the same time, Musk is looking to expand SpaceX’s business far beyond NASA missions by securing part of the US Defense Department’s $67.6 billion budget earmarked for satellite launches.

Note: Exploration Technologies Corp sent its first Dragon craft to the International Space Station in May 2012 and its latest cargo mission was completed May 18 when a Dragon capsule returned to Earth carrying 3,500 pounds of cargo and scientific samples.