SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket, Dragon Spacecraft; Heads Towards ISS
May 22, 2012 4:00 AM
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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
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.
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RE: Lol, typos.
5/22/2012 10:27:57 AM
Why use solar panels on short term flight vehicle?
solar panels provide a good weight to power ratio which it needs for its 3 day flight to the station, and to continue to poweer itself while docked for 3 weeks at the station, and then for its return flight back carry experiments back to earth.
batteries to contain that much power for the many weeks needed would be VERY heavy, or it would then be a drain on the station while docked, and thats if there is even a method of sending power to something docked.
so solar panels make very good sense here.
RE: Lol, typos.
5/22/2012 11:58:46 AM
also remember.. they are wanting to make this man rated someday, sooner rather then later, so there might be full environmental gear on board that needs continuous power
solely for testing right now.. but its the best time to do such tests.
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