Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
CNN commenters - clearly energized about the promise of a new, privately developed space shuttle - are buzzing about winged spacecraft versus capsule-based vehicles like Dragon, which SpaceX used for its historic visit to the space station last month.
A commenter called "gregory" points out the Skylon space plane project in the UK. The theory behind space planes is they would be able to take off from a runway, rocket into low orbit, and then fly to a landing on a runway.
Gregory suggests that space planes are preferable because their engines would be designed to "breathe air like a jet at lower speeds" and then "switch to rocket mode in the high atmosphere." CNN reported on Skylon last year and one insider estimated development cost to be around $10 billion. NASA's program to fund private spacecraft development offers only a fraction of that amount - less than $400 million awarded so far.
Ever had trouble checking behind you while driving? Now there's a newly patented side-view mirror that claims to eliminate that pesky blind spot.
The math professor who came up with the "wide angle substantially nondistorting mirror" says it works kind of like a mirrored disco ball - although it doesn't look anything like one.
"Imagine that the mirror's surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball," said R. Andrew Hicks, a Drexel University math professor.
Will we ever get a space plane? Read our responses to some of the comments this story received.
Have you been listening to all the kvetching and tooth-gnashing about America paying Russia $65-to-$70 million for each astronaut to ride to the space station?
You should hear what people at NASA and elsewhere in the U.S. aerospace industry are telling their friends: They're embarrassed - even angry - that the guys who won the Cold War space race are no longer in the driver's seat.
Why, oh, why, they moan, did Washington end the shuttle program before building a replacement? How fast can the United States develop a new machine to deliver Americans into orbit so they can make scientific and technological breakthroughs?
How fast? Last month, less than a year after the final space shuttle mission, a SpaceX unmanned Dragon became the first private spacecraft to reach the orbiting space station.
But you probably knew that. Here's what you may have missed: A few days after SpaceX's triumph, a winged mini-space shuttle took to the air in its first flight test.
Wait. What? There's a new space shuttle in development?
Yep, it's called Dream Chaser. And it's made to fly on laughing gas.
But more on that in a second.
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July 19thAtlas V launch of US DOD MUOS-2 satellite, notable for large "551" config of Atlas
Aug 3rdJapanese HTV-4 flight to ISS on cargo supply mission
Aug 14thSpaceX launch of Canadian satellite in the first launch from their new Vandenberg facility, and first launch of upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle
Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
SeptemberSoyuz TMA-08M flight returning Expedition 36 crew from ISS to Earth (Kazakhstan)
Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
recurringfirst powered test flights of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo commercial vehicle, to be used by Virgin Galactic for sub-orbital tourism