SpaceX Launches Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon Spacecraft To ISS
SpaceX has launched their Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon spacecraft on the second demonstration mission for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. The flight began at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:44 a.m. EDT, 22 May 2012, according to NASA.
In a statement the space agency said the Dragon capsule will conduct a series of checkout procedures to
test and prove its systems, including the capability to rendezvous
and berth with the International Space Station (ISS). On 24 May 2012,
Dragon will perform a flyby of the ISS at a distance of
approximately 1.5 miles to validate the operation of sensors and
flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous and approach.
Following analysis of the flyby by NASA and SpaceX managers, the
Dragon capsule will be cleared to rendezvous and berth with the space
station on 25 May 2012, marking the first time a commercial
company has attempted this feat, says the agency. The Expedition 31 crew on board the
station will use the orbiting complex's robotic arm to capture Dragon
and install it on the bottom side of the Harmony node.