Photo: Orlando Sentinel
While NASA may no longer be sending astronauts into orbit, private industry is just getting started.Tomorrow, SpaceX, the brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk, will be sending supplies to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, FL.
This is the first time that a commercial craft will dock with the station.
The two-day mission will see the launch capsule dock with the space station. It is supposed to be totally autonomous, which will be an interesting feat in itself.
At the end of the mission, the Dragon — that’s what the capsule portion is called —will disconnect and return to Earth with a payload on hand.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
The Dragon has to survive reentry into the atmosphere and splashdown into the Pacific Ocean. The intention is to then reuse it for future missions. If it succeeds, it will be huge news for the future of private space exploration.
The launch is scheduled to occur at 4:55 AM EST tomorrow, exactly. If it doesn’t occur then, the launch will need to be delayed until May 22. That is because the space station will be in the wrong position to pair with the Dragon.
It is that precise. Best of luck to SpaceX, we sincerely hope they succeed.
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