Sunday, July 17, 2016

SpaceX set to launch crucial ‘parking spot’ to space station

SpaceX is poised to launch its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station on Monday, carrying a key piece of equipment that was lost last year in a rocket explosion.

The international docking adapter will function as a parking spot for space taxis, enabling commercial spaceships carrying astronauts to latch on securely to the orbiting outpost.

It is the first of two docking adapters needed for the crew spaceships being built by SpaceX and Boeing, with those pioneer commercial flights planned for 2017 and 2018.

For Monday's launch, the  Dragon spaceship is packed with nearly 2,300 kilograms of gear. After blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 12:45 am, SpaceX will attempt to return the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to an upright landing at the NASA facility.

  • SpaceX has already managed to land its rockets on land and on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean several times. 
  • According to Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of flight reliability, setting the rocket back on solid ground requires more propellant than a water landing, but also affords a larger and more stable area for touchdown.

"I think it is going to be an easier trajectory than the last one," he told reporters.

"I am pretty optimistic at this point in time that we will land it, but I would always knock on wood. Just by the nature of this maneuver, it is pretty challenging."

1 comment:

  1. An unmanned SpaceX rocket blasted off from Florida early this morning to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station...

    The 23-storey-tall Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12.45am local time.

    It was built and flown by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.

    Perched on top of the rocket was a Dragon capsule filled with nearly 2,268kg of food, supplies and equipment, including a miniature DNA sequencer, the first to fly in space....REUTERS


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