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Dragon capsule is on its way to the ISS

After scrubbing its planned launch on May 19 due to a faulty check valve, SpaceX proved its critics wrong this morning by successfully launching the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule perched atop. The momentous launch took place at 3:44am EST this morning from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk -- also known for his ventures with Tesla Motors -- was understandably ecstatic about the success, and expressed his joy on Twitter, stating, “Falcon flew perfectly!! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back.”
With its solar arrays deployed, the Dragon capsule is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) and should dock with the station on Friday.

Artist's rendition of the Dragon space capsule in orbit with its solar arrays deployed [Source: SpaceX]
John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, issued this statement on behalf of The White House regarding the launch:
Congratulations to the teams at SpaceX and NASA for this morning’s successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 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. Partnering with U.S. companies such as SpaceX to provide cargo and eventually crew service to the International Space Station is a cornerstone of the President’s plan for maintaining America’s leadership in space. This expanded role for the private sector will free up more of NASA’s resources to do what NASA does best -- tackle the most demanding technological challenges in space, including those of human space flight beyond low Earth orbit. I could not be more proud of our NASA and SpaceX scientists and engineers, and I look forward to following this and many more missions like it.
This marks the first time that a privately funded mission has made its way to the ISS. Upon successful completion of the mission, SpaceX will secure a lucrative $1.6 billion contract with NASA under which it will make 12 deliveries to the ISS.

Sources: SpaceX,

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RE: Lol, typos.
By nafhan on 5/22/2012 9:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
It probably makes more sense to just use a standard configuration, and the solar panels are part of that standard configuration. If they had both a battery and a solar version, it's possible one of them would be less reliable and/or more expensive.

Also, how long does something need to be in space for solar panels to make more sense than a battery? I don't know... However, it sounds like this is going to be a five day mission.

RE: Lol, typos.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2012 9:31:19 AM , Rating: 4
It's part of the new Tesla Quick Charge (tm) technology! The Dragon will lower down power plugs to all 20 Tesla owners and orbit between the Earth and the Sun. The solar panels should decrease charging times by a whopping 37.5%!!

RE: Lol, typos.
By nafhan on 5/22/2012 2:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
I know you're joking, but I would somehow find the money to buy that system if it existed :)

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