SpaceX is in preparation to launch its Dragon spacecraft for the first of its planned twelve cargo resupply flights to the International Space Station, as per their contract with NASA.
“On Thursday, NASA confirmed that the much-anticipated launch of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft aboard the 18-story Falcon 9 is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 8:34 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Dragon will be filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies,” the LA Times reports.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (the company’s formal name) has a contract of $1.6 billion contract for hauling cargo into space. This will be done in 12 flights, and the cargo will be taken to the space station for NASA. The upcoming flight will be the first of this contract.
“With the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, NASA is hoping to turn the job of carrying cargo and crews over to private industry at a lower cost. Meanwhile, the space agency will focus on deep-space missions to land probes on asteroids and Mars,” the LA Times added.
“NASA has poured hundreds of millions of dollars in seed money into SpaceX in hopes that the company can one day complete routine missions to the space station. The space agency pays $63 million to the Russians each time it wants to send an astronaut to the station.”
Of course, there are critics. Some of the most prominent critics are former astronauts, who content that private space companies entail a lot of risk and still have unproven technology.
On the other hand, SpaceX has conducted a successful demonstration mission. “Company officials say cargo missions will yield valuable flight experience toward accomplishing this goal by 2015.”
“Founded in 2002, SpaceX makes the Dragon and Falcon 9 at a sprawling facility in Hawthorne that once was used to assemble fuselage sections for Boeing 747s. The hardware is put on a big rig and trucked to Cape Canaveral for launches.”
Source: Los Angeles Times
Image Credits: NASA