First commercial cargo flight heading to International Space Station

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(CNN) — The SpaceX rocket, the first commercial flight to the International Space Station, lifted off Sunday night carrying an unmanned cargo capsule.

The Falcon 9 rocket with its Dragon capsule launched on schedule at 8:35 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with an orange blaze against the black night sky. About 10 minutes into the flight, the Dragon separated from the rocket and was on its way to the station.

Mission control called it “a picture-perfect launch and a flawless flight of Falcon.”

It is is the first of a dozen NASA-contracted flights to resupply the International Space Station, at a total cost of $1.6 billion.

“It’s a great evening,” said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell after the launch. “It’s just awesome.”

The launch comes nearly five months after a demonstration mission in which a Dragon capsule successfully berthed at the station and returned to Earth. Shotwell said the Sunday mission isn’t “substantially different” from that flight, “with the exception that we got there once.”

Written By: CNN Wire Staff
continue to source article at cnn.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. @OP:disqus  – SpaceX founder Elon Musk is looking well beyond just these cargo flights to the station. SpaceX is one of three companies NASA has selected to continue work developing a human-rated spacecraft that would carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

    With the end of shuttle flights, there is now a combination of Russian, European and contracted private supply services to the ISS.

    There are other companies involved :-

    Virgin Galactic has its carrier aircraft and Spaceship 2.

    This one is reusing earlier Soviet Salut designs.

    The ambitious space project of “Excalibur Almaz Limited” – http://www.b14643.de/Spacerock

    Excalibur
    Almaz Limited (EA) is an international commercial space transportation company based in the Isle of Man. Its goal is the affordable and reliable transportation of humans and cargo to Low Earth Orbit.

    EA owns four RRV (Reusable Reentry Vehicle) capsules and two Almaz modules. The reusable reentry capsules can carry three passengers to Low Earth Orbit. EA has developed a plan to dock an RRV to an Almaz module in LEO.

    The Almaz program was a military space program of the Soviet Union developed by space and rocketry company MIC JSC NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM). The rocket and space complex “Almaz” was comprised of an orbital manned space station, transport vehicle, reusable return vehicle (RRV) for three persons and a cargo capsule returning high-altitude film images to the Earth. This space complex was successfully tested both on the ground and in space.

    The Almaz modules owned by Excalibur Almaz are equivalent to modules flown in space (Soviet Almaz-OPS). Excalibur Almaz is refurbishing the on-board equipment and adding a Hall thruster system, manufactured in the U.S. by Busec, which is powered by a solar array built by Entech in Fort Worth, Texas. EA Spacecraft can be launched to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) on a commercial Proton rocket from Kazakhstan.

    http://www.b14643.de/Spacerock

    http://www.b14643.de/Spacerock

  2.   @OP:disqus

    It is is the first of a dozen NASA-contracted flights to resupply the International Space Station, at a total cost of $1.6 billion.

    “It’s a great evening,” said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell after the launch. “It’s just awesome.”

    The launch comes nearly five months after a demonstration mission in which a Dragon capsule successfully berthed at the station and returned to Earth. Shotwell said the Sunday mission isn’t “substantially different” from that flight,
    “with the exception that we got there once.”

     

    Some may like a splendid 3D “tour” of the inside of  the “Dragon” Capsule”, which is linked here:-

    http://www.spacex.com/panorama

    (Click and hold mouse button down, drag in any direction to move the view — Zoom in “SHIFT” — Zoom out “CTRL”)

    You can have a real astronauts’ view!

  3. In space,  no one can hear you scream for ice cream…

    Included in the Dragon payload are packs of chocolate/vanilla ice cream for the ISS crew.
    Damn smart move by the company to be part of this venture.  
    Pay attention Hershey Co., send bags of k-ISSes on the next flight.
    They float – you bite. Now that’s a slogan :D

  4. This is a major point which is frequently over-looked and also includes dangerous cost-cutting all through the system, including the kind of pay and conditions cost cutting that insidiously demotivate staff in the long term which can lead to disasters waiting to happen. I  know NASA has problems as well but the private contractor matrix is a dangerous place at the best of times even when exciting innnovation is ongoing. Also at the end of all this is the private ownership questions, be they for the space station or future projects or resources or knowledge in several fields of human endeavour etc.

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