SpaceX confirms plans to launch first private spaceship to ISS

clip_image002SpaceX confirmed its plans to launch a rocket and capsule on May 7, 2012 in a historic first flight of a private spaceship to the ISS (International Space Station). SpaceX held that its unmanned Dragon capsule is due to ride on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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 robotic arm to dock it.

What is “SpaceX”?

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or more popularly and informally known as SpaceX, is a space transport company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 space boosters, both of which are built with a goal of becoming reusable launch vehicles. SpaceX is also developing the Dragon spacecraft to be flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

NASA awarded SpaceX a contract to develop and demonstrate a human-rated Dragon as part of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program to transport crew to the ISS. SpaceX is planning its first crewed Dragon/Falcon9 flight in 2015, when it expects to have a fully certified, human-rated launch escape system incorporated into the spacecraft.

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