SpaceX Charts Course For History Books Once Again

By  //  October 7, 2012

Dragon Liftoff Planned For 8:35 P.M. Sunday

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – The Dragon is going flying again.

The Space X Dragon spacecraft will be launched Sunday night carrying cargo to the the International Space Station. It is expected to arrive and dock with the space station on Wednesday. (Image courtesy of NASA)

The private spacecraft built by commercial space company SpaceX is set to liftoff at 8:35 p.m. Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first large-scale cargo shipment bound for the International Space Station.

Dragon’s CRS-1 mission is expected to arrive at the space station early Wednesday morning.

This unmanned flight is the first of 12 resupply missions to the International Space Station for Space X under terms of a $1.6 billion agreement with NASA as part of the Commercial Resupply Services program, which proposes to rely on private space taxis to ferry equipment and cargo to the ISS following the retirement of the Space Shuttle program..

In May, a test flight of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft successfully demonstrated its capability to launch, reach and dock with the space station with astronauts capturing the spacecraft employing the station’s robotic arm.

Dragon is filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies for astronauts at the space station, including some specialty items like ice cream, scientific experiments and a host of items they will need to make a return flight home.

The Dragon spacecraft will stay linked with the ISS for several weeks before making the voyage back to Earth around Oct. 28, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near California.

“This is a decisive milestone in human spaceflight and sets an exciting course for the next phase of American space exploration,” said SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk.

SpaceX expects to undertake its first manned flight of the Dragon by 2015.