Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will be launching its first cargo mission to the International Space Station as part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies, this Sunday, 10/7/12 at 8:35 EDT. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
SpaceX made a practice flight in May 2012. After the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, NASA has been dependent on Russian, Japanese, and European freighters for servicing the space station.
The capsule will reach the station on Wednesday, stay for 18 days, then make a parachute descent into the Pacific Ocean on October 28. If all goes well, SpaceX will clear the way for 12 more cargo runs.
This run will include about 1,000 pounds of food, clothing, supplies, and science gear. Since the Dragon capsule is designed to return to Earth, it will be able to carry back experiment samples and hardware that is broken or to be disposed of.