After a successful first flight to the ISS, NASA and SpaceX are moving ahead quickly on a planned mission to use the Dragon capsule to resupply the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX have announced that they are targeting a October 7 launch for the first contracted US cargo resupply mission to the ISS. The contract was awarded under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
NASA program managers for the ISS have confirmed that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and the Dragon cargo spacecraft are ready for the mission, and the ISS is ready to receive the Dragon. Launch is set for 8:34 PM Sunday, October 7 from Space Launch of Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. If some sort of problem is encountered on Sunday, a backup launch opportunity is available for October 8.
The October mission will be the first of 12 contracted space flights by SpaceX to resupply the ISS. The contract and first commercial flight for SpaceX and its Dragon capsule marks the first time the US is able to deliver and return a significant amount of cargo, including experiments, since the retiring of the space shuttle fleet. The Dragon will carry 1000 pounds of supplies to the space station.
1000 pounds of cargo will include critical materials to support the 166 investigations planned for the station’s Expedition 33 crew, 63 those investigations will be new. Dragon will return 734 pounds of scientific materials, including results from human research, biotechnology, materials, and educational experiments to earth in addition to about 504 pounds of space station hardware. Dragon will return in late October with splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.