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Print 52 comment(s) - last by delphinus100.. on May 25 at 8:59 PM

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, WhiteHouse.gov



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RE: W0000t!
By Visual on 5/23/2012 7:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
Well I think you are not viewing this quite fairly.
SpaceX is not just counting on "grants", instead they have a good deal of cash from "contracts", even if a lot of them come from NASA/the government and are payed up front... there is still a difference. It is money for services that SpaceX will eventually perform.

And while I can understand concerns about such types of contracts in the event that SpaceX just suck up the cash then declare failure and inability to perform their part, my impression for Elon Musk is that he really wants to succeed in this. It may be a bit like a foolish boy's dream, but the good part of that is at least he will give everything trying to achieve it.

Also, so far SpaceX is doing quite great, I see no reasons for concern... if their docking attempt doesn't bring down the space station tomorrow :p

BTW, I also think Tesla is doing quite great, what's your gripe with it? Yeah, they didn't get an electric car into every man's garage overnight, but they seem to be doing ok. Hell, until recently they were the only ones even trying. You gotta respect that.


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