SpaceX plans historic first flight on May 7

Apr 25, 2012
SpaceX owner, Elon Musk, holds a press conference last year to announce development of the Falcon rocket. SpaceX confirmed Tuesday it plans to launch a rocket and capsule on May 7 in a historic first flight of a private spaceship to the International Space Station.

SpaceX confirmed it plans to launch a rocket and capsule on May 7 in a historic first flight of a private spaceship to the International Space Station.

The new launch date, coming a week later than an initially planned April 30 goal, comes after said Monday it needed to complete more testing on its unmanned Dragon capsule. The capsule is due to ride on a Falcon 9 rocket from in Florida.

"NASA and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station have approved SpaceX's request to set May 7th as the target launch date for the upcoming COTS 2 mission," SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham told AFP.

On its Facebook page, the company said the spaceship would launch at 9:38 am (1338 GMT).

File picture shows the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX confirmed it plans to launch a rocket and capsule on May 7 in a historic first flight of a private spaceship to the International Space Station.

"We appreciate that SpaceX is taking the necessary time to help ensure the success of this historic flight," NASA associate administrator for and operations William Gerstenmaier said in a statement.

"We will continue to work with SpaceX in preparing for the May 7 launch to the ."

SpaceX aims to carry out a fly-by of the ISS and a berthing operation in which the reusable spacecraft, the Dragon, will approach the ISS as the crew aboard the orbiting outpost uses a to dock it.

The gumdrop-shaped Dragon capsule will carry 1,149 pounds (521 kilograms) of cargo for the space lab and will also aim to return a 1,455 pounds (660 kilograms) load to Earth, according to ISS program manager Michael Suffredini.

Owned by and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, SpaceX made history with its Dragon in December 2010, becoming the first commercial outfit to send a spacecraft into orbit and back.

File picture shows SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifting off on December 8, 2010 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, making the company the first commercial outfit to send a spacecraft into orbit and back. SpaceX confirmed Tuesday it plans to launch a rocket and capsule on May 7 in a historic first flight of a private spaceship to the International Space Station.

SpaceX and several other companies are competing to be the first to operate a private capsule that could tote astronauts and cargo to the ISS, after NASA retired its last year.

Russia's is currently the world's sole means of transporting astronauts and cargo to the orbiting space station.

Other companies in the private space race include aerospace giant Boeing, the Nevada-based Sierra Nevada Corporation and Washington state-based BlueOrigin LLC.

NASA has channeled $270 million to firms hoping to join the new commercial space race and hopes to foster a billion-dollar industry over the next decade.

In a draft budget submitted to Congress in February, President Barack Obama requested $829 million to develop commercial flights to the ISS, partly to end US reliance on Russian craft to deliver astronauts and re-supply the station.

The privatization of space transport is expected to pave the way for tourism, with British tycoon Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic offering $200,000 reservations for journeys into space.

The company has already taken in $60 million in sales and deposits, with more than 500 individuals -- including Hollywood stars and other multimillionaires -- adding their names to the list.

The prices of the only trips into space so far, which were sold to private individuals traveling on Russian spacecraft, have ranged from $45 million to as much as $150 million.

Explore further: Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SpaceX, NASA readies for April 30 launch to ISS

Mar 20, 2012

Preparations for the April 30 launch of the SpaceX's Dragon commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station are underway without major problems, a top NASA official said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

6 hours ago

When hazy planets pass across the face of their star, a curious thing happens. Astronomers are not able to see any changes in the range of light coming from the star and planet system.

Having fun with the equation of time

6 hours ago

If you're like us, you might've looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was.

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

Jul 27, 2014

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

User comments : 0