Skip to comments.NASA clears SpaceX for cargo run to space station (30APR2012)
Posted on 04/18/2012 6:32:20 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA on Monday cleared a cargo ship owned by Space Exploration Technologies for a test flight to the International Space Station that is scheduled to launch on April 30, NASA officials said.
The Dragon mission would be the first time a privately owned and operated vessel visits the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory owned by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada that orbits about 240 miles above Earth.
NASA is counting on Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, and a second company, Orbital Sciences Corp., to keep the space station stocked with supplies and science experiments following the retirement of the space shuttles last year. The companies' combined contracts for cargo deliveries are worth $3.8 billion.
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Awesome! Hope everything works to plan.
More info here.
Mission status center.
Pardon my ignorance - will this be a piloted flight, or an unmanned one??
Unmanned. SpaceX to do about 14 or 17 flights of the Falcon 9 before it can be certified as man-rated.
They have come a long way since Omelek island in the Marshalls.
Way cool. I hope they can make it work, both logistically and financially.
Great news! Now SpaceX better not drop the ball!
They have come a long way. I am just wondering how long they’ll stay in California before they decide to move because the anti-business climate there is just too hostile.
I know they’ve had their share of problems. Hope they got it right this time.
Whenever it flies, the SpaceX flight plan calls for the Dragon capsule to first fly a complex loop around the station to demonstrate that the craft's navigation and abort systems work as required./b>
Starting from a point 6.2 miles below and 37 miles behind the laboratory, Dragon's suite of flight computers will use data from navigation satellites to compute its position and maneuver itself to a point just 1.5 miles below and 25 miles behind the complex. A variety of tests will be performed before the Dragon drops back down to a point 6.2 miles below the station. Over the next day, the capsule will pull out in front of the station, loop up and over it and eventually return to a point 6.2 miles below and behind the laboratory.
If all of that goes well, the Dragon spacecraft will be cleared to move in for berthing on May 3, flying a stepwise automated approach to hold points 1.5 miles and .9 miles directly below the station. Assuming all systems are operating normally, the capsule will move up to a point just 820 feet below the station for another series of controllability tests. Only then will Dragon be cleared to approach to within about 30 feet.
there and back without a hitch?
that would be a HUGE victory
good luck guys !!
Considering how demanding the flight regime is I can now understand why this launch was delayed a bit.