Falcon 9

SpaceX Releases Gorgeous Videos and Photos of Successful Shuttle Launch

Viewing history on an iPad

On its second try, SpaceX successfully completed the first launch of a commercial spacecraft on Tuesday morning at 3:44am. Right now, the Dragon spacecraft is in orbit, and the SpaceX team is doing checks and scans to prepare for its docking attempt with the International Space Station on May 25th. From the SpaceX updates website:


Mission Highlights: During the mission, Dragon must perform a series of complex tasks, each presenting significant technical challenges (dates subject to change):

  • 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.


I've included some high quality videos below from the Vimeo site - there are also photos. They speak for themselves.






SpaceX's Dragon to Become First Commercial Aircraft to Visit International Space Station

The title pretty much says it all. At 4:45am EST on May 19th, SpaceX will live stream the launch of their Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket. It's a huge day for space geeks such as myself, but I'm glad that the coverage is extending to the mainstream.

For all of the talk about budget cuts to NASA and ending the shuttle program, it's great to report on the future of space travel. I really believe that space (and the ocean) need to be explored to better understand what role we play in this vast universe. It's not about finding aliens, but about doing the science that's hard to do within the physical confines of Earth. But I won't lie and say I wouldn't be excited if we found a Mass Relay ...

Note that this is a demonstration mission, but assuming everything goes well cargo (and potentially astronauts) will be ferried back and forth in the future.

For more info check out their press kit.