SpaceX Launches Historic Mission to ISS
Earlier this morning, SpaceX made history by being the first private company to launch a mission to the International Space Station. The historic launch was SpaceX’s second demonstration test flight for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. During the next few days, teams will test various systems onboard the Dragon module, in preparation for rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station.
If the capsule performs as planned, the cargo and experiments it is carrying will be transferred to the station.
According to a press release, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said: “I want to congratulate SpaceX for its successful launch and salute the NASA team that worked alongside them to make it happen. Today marks the beginning of a new era in exploration; a private company has launched a spacecraft to the International Space Station that will attempt to dock there for the first time. And while there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, we are certainly off to good start. Under President Obama’s leadership, the nation is embarking upon an ambitious exploration program that will take us farther into space than we have ever traveled before, while helping create good-paying jobs right here in the United States of America.”
The Dragon module is scheduled to perform a fly-by of the International Space station, as a distance of about 1 1/2 miles. The flyby is essential to validate the proper operation of necessary equipment and sensors for a safe approach. After NASA and SpaceX teams analyze the flyby, the Dragon capsule will be cleared to rendezvous and dock with the ISS on Friday, May 25. If successful, this will be the first time a commercial company has performed a supply mission to the International Space Station.
For those who weren’t able to stay up late (or get up early) for the launch, you can view a replay at: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/spacex_falcon9_launch.html
If you’d like to learn more about NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/cargo/spacex_index.html
Additional information on SpaceX is available at: http://www.spacex.com/