The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared into space from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying the Dragon capsule to orbit at 3:44 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The launch is the company’s second demonstration test flight for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS, Program. This flight is an unmanned one – the Dragon capsule is being used in its cargo configuration. The craft has been launched into orbit an exciting start to the mission that will make SpaceX the first commercial company in history to attempt to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station — something only a handful of governments have ever accomplished.
During the flight, there will be a series of check-out procedures to test and prove Dragon’s systems, including rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station. If the capsule performs as planned, the cargo and experiments it is carrying will be transferred to the station.
This is a far cry from the spacecraft of old – and isn’t it strange to be able to say that and mean it?
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