Space X Poised To Make Historic Flight Saturday

By  //  May 18, 2012

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THE BUSINESS OF SPACE

(NASA video)

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – If you thought Brevard County had witnessed its last historic spaceflight for the  foreseeable future, you had better think again.

If NASA determines the spacecraft is ready to dock with the ISS, Dragon will maneuver close to and latch on to the orbiting station, the spacecraft’s hatch will open the next day and cargo consisting of a half-ton of food, water and other supplies will be unloaded by the space station crew. (SpaceX images)

If all goes according to plan and barring any technical issues, Space X is going to launch an unmanned commercial spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:55 a.m. Saturday, ultimately headed for a date with destiny and a link-up with the International Space Station.

It will be a major milestone in man’s exploration of outer space, marking the very first time that a commercial company — and not a government-operated space agency —  will attempt to journey to the ISS.

The mission reads like something straight out of TV’s The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone  — but make no mistake, this commercial spaceflight is not a far-out science fiction plot taking place in the future and dreamed up by Rod Serling — it’s a reality that the countdown has begun to tick down for.

Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket during the April 30, 2012 successful static fire test at Cape Canaveral. (SpaceX images)

Blasting off from Cape Canaveral under the power of a Falcon 9 rocket, the Space X Dragon spacecraft will first be entering a low earth orbit and then has to undergo two separate tests over a span of two days.

If NASA determines the spacecraft is ready to dock with the ISS, Dragon will maneuver close to and latch on to the orbiting station, the spacecraft’s hatch will open the next day and cargo consisting of a half-ton of food, water and other supplies will be unloaded by the space station crew.

Over the next two weeks, the space station astronauts will load Dragon up with experiments and other equipment to be returned to Earth.

Dragon will undock from the ISS and make its way back to Earth splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

If the mission successful, Space X will begin a contract for 12 manned resupply and cargo flights back and forth to the ISS.

Be sure to check back often with SpaceCoastDaily.com as Managing Editor Ed Pierce provides an eyewitness account to history in the making, not only for spaceflight, but also for Brevard County.  

 


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