October 26, 2011
SpaceX Spaceship Arrives In Florida For Launch
Officials said on Monday that a Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) prototype spaceship arrived in Florida on Sunday for launch on a practice run to the International Space Station.
Reuters reports that Bobby Black, vice president for communications for SpaceX, said liftoff of the Dragon capsule aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for as early as December 19.
The mission will mark the third flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and the second for a Dragon Capsule.
SpaceX is founded and operated by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk and is based in Hawthorne, California. It is one of two companies hired by NASA to deliver cargo to the station after the space agency retired its space shuttle program this summer.
SpaceX plans to bring Dragon back to Earth 22 days after launch, pending NASA's approval.
"It's important that we're successful and we're doing a lot of work with our NASA partners to make sure that we've done all the necessary cross checks, verify all the requirements to make sure this vehicle is ready to go," SpaceX Vice President Ken Bowersox said at the Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico last week.
SpaceX initially was contracted for three test flights before the company would start delivering cargo to the station under a separate $1.6 billion contract.
However, after Dragon's successful debut mission in December 2010, SpaceX petitioned NASA to combine the objectives of the next two test flights.
SpaceX has spent about $800 million in developing the Falcon 9 and Dragon.
Image Caption: Artist's rendering of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft delivering cargo to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
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