Published on 22 May 2012 by NASAtelevision
SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket and unmanned Dragon spacecraft from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Tuesday morning on a demonstration flight to the International Space Station. This demonstration flight calls for an extensive set of tests requiring the Dragon spacecraft to show that it can move precisely in orbit and approach the space station carefully. If the tests are successful, plans call for Dragon to move close enough to be grappled by the station’s robotic arm and berthed to the orbiting laboratory. The flight is the first commercial venture to the ISS. Meanwhile, the three newest residents of the International Space Station were greeted by their Expedition 31 crewmates after their Soyuz capsule docked safely with the orbiting laboratory following its two day-plus journey from Kazakhstan. Soyuz commander Gennady Padalka, NASA flight engineer Joe Acaba, and Russian flight engineer Sergei Revin are slated to spend the next five months on the station. Expedition 31 will conclude, and 32 will begin, when Oleg Kononenko, Andre Kuipers, and Don Pettit return to Earth on July first after spending more than six months aboard the ISS. Also, Extreme Temperature Heat Shield, More Tests for Orion’s Launch System Component, The State of Alabama celebrates NASA and more.