Volume 90 Issue 22 | p. 36 | Concentrates
Issue Date: May 28, 2012

Commercial Spacecraft Heads To Space Station

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: NASA, SpaceX, ISS, commercial space flight
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SpaceX’s Dragon successfully lifted off last week from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is lifted into a vertical position on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on May 17, 2011.
 
SpaceX’s Dragon successfully lifted off last week from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

In the wee hours of May 22, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft on its Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This is the second demonstration mission for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program and the first time a commercially developed and built spacecraft has been launched to the International Space Station (ISS). “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,” NASA head Charles F. Bolden Jr. said after the launch. The goal of the mission is to show that a commercial craft can successfully reach and dock with ISS, thus giving NASA direct access to the station now that the agency has retired its shuttles. In addition to noncritical supplies, Dragon is also carrying 15 science experiments designed by students in grades 5–12 that will assess the effects of microgravity on physical, chemical, and biological systems.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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