The first launch of “Falcon” was canceled on Saturday for just half a second before the start due to a small technical problem. The next launch was held on Tuesday at 8.44 GMT.
Upon successful completion of the mission will be the first California-based company in the history of a private company that launched to the ISS spacecraft.
Until now, the private sector have been beyond the power of such a mission. Flying in space is always carried out by publicly funded agencies – such as NASA and ESA.
The official goal of the mission – to deliver food and equipment to the orbiting space station, but it also has another, deeper meaning.
The flight to demonstrate the changes in space policy of the U.S. government. According to calculations by NASA, private companies will take care about life on the ISS, freeing up time and money for more complex and long-term projects.
Shortly after the launch vehicle “Falcon” in orbit cone-shaped capsule “Dragon” should be separate from her, tentatively at an altitude of 300 km.
Rise and missile gap “Falcon” on the Earth’s surface should last just under 10 minutes, after which the cone-shaped capsule “Dragon” is separated from the booster at an altitude of 300 km.
Further, the unit will deploy its solar panels, check with the navigation and tracking systems on Earth, will launch its own thrusters, and rush to the ISS.
Then the ISS astronauts take away from the ship he intended cargo, replacing it with the faulty equipment that will be delivered to Earth for repairs.
Saturday’s launch of the truck from Cape Canaveral in Florida was suspended less than a second before the start after the on-board computer recorded the excess of pressure in one of the engines.
Nevertheless, engineers and experts quickly identified and eliminated the problem. It turned out that the fault occurred in one of the shut-off valves, and replaced by a new one.
NASA allocates for contracts to SpaceX and Orbital approximately $ 800 million, helping them to develop their own rockets and spacecraft, separated by tabs. When they will meet the necessary standards, the program delivery of cargo to the ISS will work at full capacity.
From the moment when the program was shut down flights of U.S. space shuttle, the U.S. remained the ships on which you can send people into space – it is necessary for them to buy “tickets” to the Russian “Soyuz” at a price of $ 60 million over the place.
SpaceX says that by 2015, will be able to run people into orbit at a price of $ 20 million over the place.
The success of this mission depends on how the new strategy, designated by NASA, will be accepted by society, as well as the ruling elite of the United States.
Many members of Congress continue to express doubts about the prospects for private sector space industry.