USA to open new era of commercial flights to ISS
The first commercial flight of privately-owned cargo spaceship Dragon to the International Space Station is scheduled for 7 October, the press service of the U.S. National Aerospace Agency (NASA) said.
The ship will blast off at 20:34 local time from Cape Canaveral in Florida (4:34 Moscow time on October 8), says BFM.RU. Dragon is scheduled to dock the ISS on October 10. ISS program managers confirmed the readiness of the station and the crew to accept the space vehicle.
Spacecraft Dragon was developed by US-based company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). The spaceship will be launched on Falcon 9 carrier rocket, which was also built by SpaceX. The launch date has been coordinated between NASA, SpaceX and international partners on the ISS program.
The launch of Dragon spacecraft will be the first of 12 flights under the contract between SpaceX and NASA. The contract is evaluated at $1.6 billion, the BBC said. The cargo spaceship flies to the space station to replenish its reserves.
Dragon is the first privately-owned spacecraft in history. The ship made the first test flight into space in December 2010. In May 2012, the ship docked the ISS, but it was another demo test flight, in which the ship did not carry any cargo that would be important for the ISS , Lenta.ru said. Only state-owned spaceships could go on space missions to the ISS before.
Opening the era of commercial flights, the U.S. will be able to deliver cargoes to the space station again. The United States lost the opportunity after the closure of the shuttle program in 2011.