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ISS Space

SpaceX Launching Dragon Capsule to ISS Today 79

Today at 10:10am ET (15:10 UTC) SpaceX will be launching an unmanned Dragon capsule, perched atop a Falcon9 rocket, to the International Space Station. The capsule is filled with about 1,200 pounds of supplies for the ISS crew, and it is scheduled to arrive early Saturday morning. The return trip, on March 25, will bring over 2,000 pounds of cargo back to Earth when Dragon re-enters the atmosphere and falls into the Pacific Ocean. Both NASA and SpaceX are covering the launch live. For text and pictures, you can watch on SpaceX Launch Central or NASA's launch blog. For streaming video, check out NASA TV. Spaceflight Now has both, and their live updates provide a bit more detail. SpaceX's press kit for the mission (PDF) explains how the launch will proceed: "At 1 minute, 10 seconds after liftoff, Falcon 9 reaches supersonic speed. The vehicle will pass through the area of maximum aerodynamic pressure—max Q—15 seconds later. This is the point when mechanical stress on the rocket peaks due to a combination of the rocket’s velocity and resistance created by the Earth’s atmosphere. Around 170 seconds into the flight, two of the first-stage engines will shut down to reduce the rocket’s acceleration. (Its mass, of course, has been continually dropping as its propellants are being used up.) The remaining engines will cut off around 3 minutes into the flight—an event known as main-engine cutoff, or MECO. At this point, Falcon 9 is 80 kilometers (50 miles) high, traveling at 10 times the speed of sound. Five seconds after MECO, the first and second stages will separate. Seven seconds later, the second stage’s single Merlin vacuum engine ignites to begin a 6-minute burn that brings Falcon 9 and Dragon into low-Earth orbit."
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SpaceX Launching Dragon Capsule to ISS Today

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  • milestone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @10:14AM (#43044647)

    This feels bigger and more important than a few communications satellites. Godspeed, Dragon!

  • Good luck Dragon!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Friday March 01, 2013 @10:25AM (#43044719)

    Looking forward to SpaceX making these flights "routine" (or at least as routine as spaceflight gets), and then scale up -- they've been having issues raising their production and launch rate up until now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @10:44AM (#43044861)

    The world is an increasingly disappointing place. But stories like this are just awesome. Let's just step back here, the story is about a fully automated rocket developed and launched for cheap by a private company, which is going to perform an automated docking procedure with a gigantic orbiting station to resupply its international crew of astronauts from countries who once blew eachother to bits but have somehow managed to remain largely peaceful for 60-70 years.

    And it's routine enough by now that I had to click to expand the story on /.

    Wow. Freaking badass.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday March 01, 2013 @11:50AM (#43045453)

    What I don't like about Elon Musk's companies, is when they have problems (like with Tesla), instead of fixing them, they go and attack the reporter. So that Forbes article was astroturf bombed, so much so, that the reported had to write a follow up piece.

    And what is he supposed to do when a reporter lies and fabricates evidence? Was GM wrong to go after NBC for rigging truck fuel tanks to explode on Dateline?

    Hell, I think Top Gear got off too light for faking Tesla test results.

    I can appreciate a healthy skepticism. I can appreciate that someone might have a preference for something, say gas vs. electric. But if you are putting out a show that looks like a legitimate test, fake the results and then act like it doesn't matter because you're just entertainment, you're a fucking asshole and should be treated like one. It demonstrates a disgusting contempt for the truth.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson