Entries in Dream (11)


Successful Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9

The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule lift off May 22, 2012, from Cape Canaveral Air Force station in Florida to begin a demonstration mission to the International Space Station. The plan is for the first private capsule, the Dragon to berth with the Space Station ISS on Friday. As NASA is passing the torch for lower orbit, supply and service missions to the private sector, enabling NASA to focus back on space exploration.

At a press conference held after the launch, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk began, “I would like to start off by saying what a tremendous honor it has been to work with NASA.  And to acknowledge the fact that we could not have started SpaceX, nor could we have reached this point without the help of NASA… It’s really been an honor to work with such great people.”

The vehicle’s first stage performed nominally before separating from the second stage.  The second stage successfully delivered the Dragon spacecraft into its intended orbit. This marks the third consecutive successful Falcon 9 launch and the fifth straight launch success for SpaceX.

Mission Highlights

  • May 22/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
  • May 23: Dragon orbits Earth as it travels toward the International Space Station.
  • May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems are subjected to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the space station; these tests include maneuvers and systems checks in which the vehicle comes within 1.5 miles of the station.
  • May 25: NASA decides if Dragon is allowed to attempt berthing with the station.  If so, Dragon approaches. It is captured by station’s robotic arm and attached to the station, a feat that requires extreme precision.
  • May 25 - 31: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
  • May 31: After approximately two weeks, Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.
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