- Dragon Lifts Off for First Commercial Resupply Mission
- Dragon Spacecraft Readies to Bring Cargo to Orbital Station
MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - US private company SpaceX launched on Friday its Dragon space freighter on a second resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), but the capsule experienced an issue with its thruster pods, NASA and SpaceX reported.
“SpaceX has confirmed its Falcon 9 rocket lifted off as planned and experienced a nominal flight,” NASA said in a statement on its website, adding that after Dragon achieved orbit, “the spacecraft experienced an issue with a propellant valve.”
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 10:10 a.m. EST (15:10 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted Friday that there were problems with three of the capsule’s four thruster pods, but later said on Twitter a second thruster pod was recovered.
“Solar array deployment successful,” Musk also tweeted.
The Dragon spacecraft is carrying 1,268 pounds (575 kg) of supplies for the space station crew and for experiments being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory, NASA reported earlier.
The space freighter is expected to dock with the Earth-facing port of the space station's Harmony module where it will remain for a few weeks while astronauts unload cargo and load the craft with 2,668 pounds (1,210 kg) of Earth-bound experiment samples and equipment. The docking initially scheduled for Saturday may now be delayed.
It is the second of at least 12 flights to the ISS that SpaceX carries out under its $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract.
Last year, the Dragon made a demonstration flight to the space station in May and carried out the first resupply mission in October, delivering more than 1,000 lbs (some 450 kg) of cargo to the ISS.
Dragon’s third mission to the ISS is expected in the fall of 2013. The spacecraft will be launched on board a modernized version of the Falcon 9 rocket.
The Dragon is a reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX to fly cargo to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year.
The spacecraft is capable of carrying more than 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) of cargo split between pressurized and unpressurized sections, according to NASA.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Monkeys from Borneo and Other Animal News
Infographics: The Origin of Geomagnetic Storms
Cartoons: Dreams of Space
The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.