Milestone: SpaceX's Dragon Resupplies the ISS
October 11, 2012 - This week's SpaceX Dragon spacecraft delivery flight to the International Space Station marks a key milestone in commercial spaceflight. The flight that began Sunday, October 7, is the first of NASA's 12 contracted resupply missions with SpaceX in the $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract that runs through 2016.
Dragon delivered 882 pounds of supplies to the orbiting laboratory, including 260 pounds of crew supplies, 390 pounds of scientific research, 225 pounds of hardware, and several pounds of other supplies, according to NASA. Dragon will return a total of 1,673 pounds, including 163 pounds of crew supplies, 866 pounds of scientific research, and 518 pounds of vehicle hardware and other hardware.
The capsule is scheduled to spend 18 days attached to the station before returning for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off Southern California.
SpaceX is one of two companies that built and tested new cargo spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. The other, Orbital Sciences, has its Antares launch vehicle currently on the launch pad at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. After a series of fueling tests, officials plan a hot-fire test of the Antares first-stage engines, followed by a simulated Cygnus spacecraft that will be flown in late 2012. A demonstration flight of Cygnus to the space station is planned in early 2013.