SpaceX launches first official cargo resupply mission to International Space Station

SpaceX this weekend "successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on the first official cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station," at 8:35 p.m. ET on Sunday from Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Details from the commercial space startup below.

The SpaceX CRS-1 mission marks the first of at least 12 SpaceX missions to the space station under the company’s cargo resupply contract with NASA. On board the Dragon spacecraft are materials to support investigations planned for the station’s Expedition 33 crew, as well as crew supplies and space station hardware.

Dragon – the only space station cargo craft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies back to Earth -- will return with scientific materials and space station hardware.

The Falcon 9 rocket, powered by nine Merlin engines, performed nominally today during every phase of its approach to orbit, including two stage separations, solar array deployment, and the final push of Dragon into its intended orbit. Dragon will now chase the space station before beginning a series of burns that will bring it into close proximity to the station. If all goes well, Dragon will attach to the complex on October 10 and spend over two weeks there before an expected return to Earth on October 28.

“We are right where we need to be at this stage in the mission,” said Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technical Officer, SpaceX. “We still have a lot of work to do, of course, as we guide Dragon’s approach to the space station. But the launch was an unqualified success.”

The CRS-1 mission follows a historic demonstration flight last May when SpaceX’s Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to attach to the space station, exchange cargo, and return safely to Earth. The flight signaled restoration of American capability to resupply the space station, not possible since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Photo (SpaceX): Liftoff of Falcon 9 and Dragon from Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Fl. October 7, 2012.


  1. “The Falcon 9 rocket, powered by nine Merlin engines, performed nominally today during every phase of its approach to orbit, including two stage separations, solar array deployment, and the final push of Dragon into its intended orbit.”

    If you don’t count the explosion of engine number 1 a minute into the flight, that is.

      1. Anomaly is such a more pleasant word than failure.

        That said, it did recover nicely. Except for that thing about the Orbcomm satellite ending up in the wrong place. 

          1. Which is not the place it’s intended to be. Sure, things in orbit move all the time, so you might not want to call an orbit a place. But consider that the place you put your reading glasses is also in orbit, as we’re all on a spinning ball that’s orbiting the sun.

    1. A second stage relight before secondary deployment would have been nice too.  It looks like a bunch of my kit is stranded in very low orbit.

      1. Not to worry; they’ll be re-entering the atmosphere any day now, so everything will turn out fine. *coff*

      2.  Looks like you’ll have to rename your company from “Interplanetary” to “Suborbital”.

  2. And commercial space ventures improve something the communists were doing since the early 80’s how exactly? 

    Now some millionaire is making money out of it? I see.  

        1. The snivelers and bootlickers of billionaires will be dealt with around the same time as the billionaires themselves. So watch it toady. This “I ams innocents” stuff won’t cut it in the gulag. 

  3. It’s interesting to me how much the SpaceX employees seem to care about the whole (pardon the pun) enterprise.  It’s almost as if, when you hire good people who really want to be doing what they’re doing for you, and then get out of the way, good things happen.  NASA is great, but I think that with a private company that’s a little less conservative in their approach to things, and a little more willing to take risks, you’re more likely to actually get things done in a reasonable time frame.  And as experience with the shuttle showed, even if you’re really, really cautious to an almost absurd degree, bad things can still happen.  The difference is in whether you allow failures to bring you to a stop, or treat them as a learning experience and maintain your momentum.

    1. Clearly the press release put some spin on things. But ignoring that, it’s not a difference between public and private. NASA was more risk-taking in the early days, and their failures were due to an entrenched bureaucracy, not an abundance of caution. They ignored engineers who told them there was a problem. There are plenty of private companies who’ve reached that same stage of entrenched bureaucracy, and it could easily happen to SpaceX in another 30 years.

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