SpaceX rocket blasts off for ISS

2012-10-08 07:50
The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Terry Renna, AP)

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Terry Renna, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Canaveral - An unmanned, privately owned Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday on a mission to restore a US supply line to the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle.

Powered by nine oxygen and kerosene-burning engines, the 48-metre tall rocket, built by Space Exploration Technologies, lifted off from its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 20:35 (00:35 GMT Monday).

"This was a critical event for Nasa and the nation tonight," said Nasa administrator Charles Bolden. "Just over a year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we have returned space station cargo-resupply missions to US soil."

The Falcon booster, flying for the fourth time, streaked through balmy, partly cloudy skies as it headed east over the Atlantic Ocean toward the station's orbit, some 400km above Earth.

Engine problem


Despite a problem with one engine during the 10-minute climb to orbit, the capsule was delivered exactly where it was intended to go, company president Gwynne Shotwell told reporters.

"Falcon 9 was designed to lose engines and still make missions, so it did what it was supposed to do," Shotwell said. "We will learn from our flights and continue to improve the vehicle."

The capsule is scheduled to reach the $100bn space station - a project of 15 nations - on Wednesday.

The company, also known as SpaceX, made a successful practice run to the station in May, clearing the way for it to begin working off a $1.6bn, 12-flight contract to deliver cargo for Nasa.

The Dragon cargo capsule carries about 400kg of food, clothing, science experiments and supplies for the station. The gear includes a freezer to transport medical samples and a rare treat for the station crew - chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream.

With the retirement of the space shuttles last year, Nasa turned to the private sector to develop and fly freight to the station and is looking to do the same for crew transportation.

"Every time they have a successful mission, that gives the non-believers one more opportunity to get onboard and root for us and help us make this thing happen," Bolden said.

Return capability

Unlike the Russian, European and Japanese freighters that service the station, Dragon is designed to return to Earth intact, rather than burn up in the atmosphere, so it can bring back research and equipment from the station. That return capability has been missing since the shuttle's retirement.

Dragon is scheduled to depart the station on October 28 and to splash down into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

SpaceX has a separate Nasa contract to upgrade its Dragon capsule to carry humans as well. Boeing and privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp also have Nasa backing for space taxi design work.

In addition to SpaceX, Nasa has also hired Orbital Sciences Corp to fly cargo to the station. Orbital's Antares rocket is expected to make a debut flight later this year.

Read more on:    spacex  |  space  |  iss
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.