SpaceX will send the first private spacecraft to the ISS?


17/04/2012

Date of first unmanned mission to the space station, which will be held by a private company, is scheduled for April 30.

Although the flight of the transport spaceship Dragon will only preliminary demonstration of the successful completion of the mission will mark a new era in space travel.

NASA intends to farm out to private companies all the chores in the field of space flight as drones, and with people on board.

In this case, the flight will be performed by the company SpaceX of California.

Already been determined the Dragon spacecraft launch date of April 30, at 12:22 local time (20:22 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

At the moment, still being tested software, and the final decision to launch will be made next week.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and the lead designer of the ship, asked to be understanding to the level of complexity of creating systems to launch into orbit.

"It is important to understand that it is difficult to be achieved," - he told reporters.

"Many people do not realize is that the space station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes," - he explained.

"Her speed of 27,359 km / h and you have to dock at that speed. Necessary to track the position of the space station down to the centimeter."

"It is 12 times faster than a bullet fired from a rifle. Therefore, it is very difficult."

Dragon space capsule will be docked to the ISS for a few weeks then return to Earth.

Dragon will be launched by a rocket Falcon 9 (Falcon 9). Going beyond the limits of the atmosphere, the Dragon will approach situated at an altitude of 390 kilometers of the International Space Station (ISS) and will produce a series of communications, navigation and other tests.

In the case of successful tests, the ship will permit the approach to the station, where he was captured by automatic hand.

This hand will draw the capsule to the orbiting laboratory compartment, after which the astronauts will unload food and other goods from the ship. Docking to occur on May 3.

"We are very excited about the ship on the ISS, but it will be one of the historic launch," - said Michael Suffredini, the ISS program manager at NASA.

"This ship, while producing only a demonstration flight, will deliver to the ISS 512 kg of cargo. And the order of 660 kg will be returned to him from the ISS to Earth."

But given that the system SpaceX quite new and has not yet been tested in practice, he added: "We will deliver in the course of this mission is nothing without which we can not do."

SpaceX and another private company, Orbital Sciences Corporation of Virginia, received hundreds of millions of dollars from NASA to assist in the development of new launch vehicles and spacecraft.

Orbital lags behind SpaceX, but also going to send a ship to the station this year.

Both companies, in addition to financial assistance, have signed a multi-billion-dollar contracts with NASA to repeated delivery of cargo to the ISS in the coming years.

But SpaceX is not going to stop the delivery of goods. Their ship Dragon is designed in such a way as to begin operations once the delivery people.

Elon Musk said that the necessary modifications can be made within the next three years.

Having given the operation to deliver cargo and people into orbit at the mercy of the private sector, NASA is going to focus its efforts on the development of systems for the study of more distant objects in the solar system.

In this regard, Congress has approved plans for a new rocket and spacecraft to transport people far beyond the ISS to destinations such as asteroids and even Mars.

Original: Bbc


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