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SpaceX rocket launches, hailed as 'new era'

Posted on Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 | Comment icon 29 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf

Image credit: NASA

SpaceX has successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon cargo capsule bound for the ISS.

Celebrated by NASA as a "historic mission", the launch marks the first time a private company has sent a spacecraft to the space station and is set to kick start a new era of spaceflight and exploration. "We're now back on the brink of a new future, a future that embraces the innovation the private sector brings to the table," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden. "The significance of this day cannot be overstated. While there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, we are off to a good start."

The Dragon capsule will carry 1,200 pounds of supplies for the crew of the ISS which will be unloaded when it docks with the station in about three days time. It will remain docked for three weeks while the astronauts retrieve the supplies and then stock it back up with used science equipment for return back down to Earth.

"A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket thundered into space and delivered a Dragon cargo capsule into orbit on May 22, 2012."

  View: Full article |  Source: NASA

  Discuss: View comments (29)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 May, 2012, 0:12
To get back on topic...
Comment icon #21 Posted by Merc14 on 24 May, 2012, 0:53
Ok but this is the basic capsule design and rocket that will carry astronauts in a future mission.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Daveisback on 24 May, 2012, 1:32
SpaceX has lit the candle, hope they can can keep it lit. Ever read the non-fiction works of and the Sci-Fi novels Ben Bova. Rick is passionate about private/commercial space efforts even leading a few of his own. Bova has written several novels about commercial space efforts and they are good and might predict what will happen next in this arena.
Comment icon #23 Posted by IronGhost on 24 May, 2012, 2:53
I've read all of Ben Bova's novels. They're marvelous. He started out as working withing the aerospace industry way back in the 50s before he became a writer. He's very much an insider, knows a lot of astronauts, etc., and so his fiction is very well informed. I once had a chance to meet him and chat with him at some length about space -- he's rather edgy and argumentative over small things; for example I asked him "What do you think will be the tobacco of space?" meaning, of course, what will it be that will enable business folks to make a profit on space, comp... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 May, 2012, 10:32
Comment icon #25 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 May, 2012, 11:40
Comment icon #26 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 May, 2012, 12:03
Yes, but the capsule will need a lot of modifications. The current Dragon is designed for a 30 day stay at the ISS. The manned version (known as the DragonRider) will be designed for 180 day stays, with a requirement that it should be able to stay docked for 210 days in case of emergencies. Dragon currently has no life support system or launch escape system (LES) both of which will be needed by DragonRider. DragonRider will employ a novel LES. Instead of a launch escape tower as currently used by Soyuz and Shenzhou (and previously by Mercury and Apollo) which use rockets in a tower above the... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 May, 2012, 12:32
Comment icon #28 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 May, 2012, 22:50
NASA has now released some photos of the Dragon taken from the ISS during today's fly past. I have posted them on UMs image gallery. They can be found , , and

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