WASHINGTON – Space Exploration Technologies Inc. is tentatively scheduled to again deliver cargo to the International Space Station in October, NASA confirmed on Thursday (Sept. 20).
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SpaceX (Hawthorne, Calif.), the first commercial space company to send a cargo ship to the space station, is scheduled to launch its first resupply mission under a NASA contract on Oct. 7. SpaceX successfully berthed its unmanned Dragon cargo ship to the station in May, fulfilling the requirements of a NASA contract that clears the way for 12 resupply missions under the space agency’s Commercial Resupply Services initiative.
NASA said SpaceX will ferry about 1,000 pounds of supplies to the space station during the “CRS-1” mission, including items being used for a range of scientific experiments. Dragon will return to Earth about 734 pounds of science experiments and space station hardware.
While NASA confirmed the readiness of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule, previous SpaceX launches have been delayed by NASA to verify mission software essential for guiding the unmanned craft to the space station.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo ship being captured by the space station's robotic arm in May. (Source: NASA)
Once it rendezvous with the station, Dragon will be captured by a robotic arm operated by crew members Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who will then pull into a docking collar before the cargo is unloaded.
The space station commercial resupply program replaces the space shuttle, which was retired by NASA last year.
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