SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully launches

first_imgIt has been threatening to happen since November last year, but early this morning SpaceX finally managed to launch the Dragon capsule strapped to a Falcon 9 rocket. The video above shows the first 5 minutes of the launch.The exact launch time was 03:44 EDT this morning and saw the Dragon capsule eject after a 10 minute climb strapped to the rocket, ready to start its 2-day journey to the International Space Station (ISS). Once there, it will initially maintain a distance of 2.5km in order to test on-board communications, guidance systems, and control of the capsule.If all goes to plan, Dragon will then move to within 10 meters of the ISS on Friday where it will be secured to the station with a robotic arm. The capsule’s precious 500kg cargo of food & water, as well as new equipment, will then be unloaded by the astronauts currently in residence aboard the station.NASA counts the launch as a demonstration mission forming part of the wider Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. For its part, SpaceX is proving it has the expertise and capabilities to carry out such cargo missions.If the mission is a success it should lead to more missions for supply delivery as well as experiments. Eventually it could also see SpaceX handling manned missions while NASA has its remaining resources freed up for other projects, such as developing the Space Launch System, a cannon harpoon for collecting comet samples, and a Spidernaut robot.More at NASA, via BBC Newslast_img read more