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Successful SpaceX launch sends Dragon capsule to the ISS
05-23-2012, 05:39 AM
Post: #1
Successful SpaceX launch sends Dragon capsule to the ISS
First non-government vehicle to dock at the ISS!

[Image: x6-jpg.jpg]

Quote:CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX sent its Falcon 9 rocket and unmanned Dragon capsule soaring off a Cape Canaveral launch pad early Tuesday, heading for an historic rendezvous with the International Space Station.
The rocket lifted off into dark skies above the Space Coast at 3:44 a.m.
Some 11 minutes after launch, the solar arrays deployed on the Dragon spacecraft, prompting cheers and high-fives among SpaceX employees in the Hawthorne, Calif. mission control center. The solar array deployment had been considered the first big post-launch test."Falcon flew perfectly!!," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted. "Dragon in orbit ...Feels like a giant weight just came off my back.
Tuesday's liftoff came on the second attempt to launch SpaceX's demonstration mission for NASA. If all goes well during the series of maneuvers and tests SpaceX will put the Dragon through, the cargo vehicle on Friday could become the first non-government ship to berth at the space station.
[PHOTOS: SpaceX rocket launch]
"Every launch into space is a thrilling event, but this one is especially exciting because it represents the potential of a new era in American spaceflight," said John Holdren, assistant to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology.
Several dozen spectators gathered to watch the nighttime launch.
"It's a spectacular sight. You don't see it every day, especially not when you're from Europe, there are no launches there," said Mark Van Kemenade, of the Netherlands, who's on his honeymoon with his wife.
"I thought it was amazing when the flame took off. The flame went whooshing up in the air when the rocket took off," said a boy from England.
If SpaceX successfully docks at the space station, it would prove the company's readiness to start delivering cargo under a $1.6 billion contract. The other company with a NASA cargo contract is Orbital Sciences Corp., which is set to test launch its rocket this summer.
SpaceX had initially planned to launch the Falcon 9 early Saturday but trouble with one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines forced a last-second abort. A valve on the engine was replaced, and the rocket was cleared to go.
"It's a great day for America. It's a great day for the world. ...Some people had thought we had gone away, but we haven't gone away at all," said NASA chief Charles Bolden from Kennedy Space Center.
[READ: White House statement on SpaceX launch]
If all continues to go well and Dragon is cleared to berth at the ISS, the station's six-person crew will unload about 1,200-pounds of cargo from the Dragon, such as food and clothing. The spacecraft would return to Earth on May 31.

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05-23-2012, 06:58 AM
Post: #2
Successful SpaceX launch sends Dragon capsule to the ISS
Plus it also sent some of Scotty's ashes into space.

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