First Contracted SpaceX dragon blast off with NASA Cargo to Space Station

Monday, October 08, 2012
SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon Capsule lift off Oct.7
(local time) [Photo Credit: NASA ]
Washington: SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying its Dragon spacecraft blasted off Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:35 p.m. EDT Sunday, beginning NASA's first contracted cargo delivery flight, designated SpaceX CRS-1, to the International Space Station.

 Under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract, SpaceX will fly at least 12 cargo missions to the space station through 2016. The contract is worth $1.6 billion. 

The SpaceX craft, carrying around 1,000 pounds (455 kilogrammes) of supplies, took off as scheduled at 8:35 pm (0035 GMT) and is set to reach the orbiting space lab on Wednesday.

It is scheduled to return to Earth -- splashing down off the coast of southern California -- on October 28, carrying about 734 pounds (333 kilogrammes) of scientific materials.

While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop and advance these commercial spaceflight capabilities, the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration.

Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration in the solar system. 
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