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Originally posted by Maslo
Why they wont just use SpaceX Dragon capsule? It uses internal LAS boosters which are able to perform soft landing on every surface in the solar system, and is fully reusable. And it was developed from a blank sheet to the first demonstration flight in just over four years for about $300 million. Imagine what would SpaceX do with 5 billion..
What's a LAS booster? Typically, LAS stands for Launch Abort System, which are rocket engines attached to the capsule that would pull the capsule away from the launch vehicle in the event of a problem during launch.
SpaceX proposes to develop an "integrated launch abort system design" for the Dragon spacecraft, with several claimed advantages over the more traditional tractor tower approaches used on all prior manned space capsules. These advantages include:
 the provision of escape capability later into the launch profile, "all the way to orbit"
reusability since the integrated escape system returns to earth with the spacecraft, and reduces mission cost
improves crew safety by the elimination of one "separation event" from the launch profile
the escape engines may be usable during the landing phase "for a precise land landing of Dragon under rocket power." The emergency parachute will be retained in this design as a redundant backup landing system.
Originally posted by Isildur1
What a waste of money. 5 billion dollars thrown away towards a planet that will never be inhabited by any living creature or human. Use the money for an actual cause for once. This much money could feed a few African nations for YEARS.