Elon Musk to the Rescue
Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the Russia had the US in a very difficult spot. With relations between the countries deteriorating rapidly, Russia decided to use cooperation in space as a political lever and threatened to stop carrying US astronauts to the International Space Station. I wrote about it on May 15. The problem, of course, is that the US has not been able to send its people to the ISS since it retired the Space Shuttle to save money. It looks like things are changing more quickly than expected.
Yesterday, Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX (and CEO of Tesla) took the wraps off a manned space vehicle called the Dragon V2, which SpaceX has been developing secretly with NASA. The Dragon will carry up to seven passengers (all of the original Mercury 7 would have been able to fly together if this had been available in the early 60s!) and is scheduled for operation in 2017. Lots of testing between now and then to ensure safety.
Here is an article in TechCrunch: SpaceX’s First Ever Manned Spacecraft.