SpaceX Makes History – Again!
I normally won’t be discussing space too much on this blog, but last night I watched the SpaceX CRS-1 Rocket launch into orbit with a NASA payload bound for the International Space Station and it totally geek’d me out and I had to mention it here.
This is the first time in history that a private American spacecraft has run such a flight for NASA, the blast-off – atop SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rocket – marks the beginning of twelve missions to the ISS. According to the CRS-1 timescale, the Dragon capsule is expected to reach the ISS on Wednesday morning, October 7.
If you are unfamiliar with SpaceX, it is the brainchild of Paypal co-founder Elon Musk. Elon is a young, highly-intelligent, and energetic man, who has great ambitions for space and seems to be getting it done.
The flight, referred to as Commercial Resupply Services-1 (CRS-1), is the first of a dozen resupply flights for which NASA is paying SpaceX $1.6 billion to fly. The mission follows a demonstration flight in May that made history as the first commercial spacecraft to berth with the station.
They did have one of the nine Falcon engines fail, but it there is redundancy built into the system and it compensated as designed. The Dragon made it to orbit with no issue. The CRS-1 mission will span 18 days before returning to a parachute-assisted ocean splashdown. Returning to Earth on the Dragon will be nearly 1,700 pounds (771 kg) of science experiment results, spent hardware and former crew members’ spacesuit components.
SpaceX is one of two U.S. companies with contracts to provide unmanned resupply flights to the space station for NASA. The other firm, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia, has a $1.9 billion contract for eight missions using its new Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft. The first Antares rocket was rolled out to its launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast on Oct. 1.
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