Space Exploration Technologies on Thursday unveiled its contender in a three-way competition to fly astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.
Like its cargo ships, which began supply runs to the station in 2012, SpaceX's passenger vehicle is called Dragon, but in many respects it is a totally different beast.
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For starters, the upgraded capsules won't be splashing down in the ocean. Instead they'll be outfitted with powerful thruster rockets and landing legs for powered, pinpoint touchdowns on land.
"You'll be able to land anywhere on Earth with the accuracy of a helicopter," said SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk.
The billionaire technology entrepreneur, who also runs the Telsa electric car company, took the stage to unveil Dragon "Version 2″ to a jam-packed crowd at SpaceX's Hawthorne, Calif., factory and to an online audience of more than 32,500 watching a live webcast.
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