For SpaceX, every flight is the real deal. It’s that way for any rocket company. But this time around, more than in the past, the private company contracted with NASA is flying without a safety net.
Sunday, if all goes well, at 8:30 p.m. ET, a Falcon 9 Rocket with a Dragon capsule on top will lift off from launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This will be the first of a dozen NASA-contracted flights to resupply the international space Station, at a total cost of $1.6 billion.
The Mars rover Curiosity will get to try out its scoop this weekend, according to current NASA plans.
"The request that the engineers made to the scientists was: Find us a good sandbox, a good sand pit, to play in here, on our way to Glenelg," said Mike Watkins, Curiosity mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, at a press conference Thursday. "This site, Rocknest, is exactly that."
The vehicle is currently parked 400 meters as the crow flies from Bradbury Landing, where it landed on August 6. It will likely stay there for another two weeks, with scooping to begin on Saturday.
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July 19thAtlas V launch of US DOD MUOS-2 satellite, notable for large "551" config of Atlas
Aug 3rdJapanese HTV-4 flight to ISS on cargo supply mission
Aug 14thSpaceX launch of Canadian satellite in the first launch from their new Vandenberg facility, and first launch of upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle
Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
SeptemberSoyuz TMA-08M flight returning Expedition 36 crew from ISS to Earth (Kazakhstan)
Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
recurringfirst powered test flights of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo commercial vehicle, to be used by Virgin Galactic for sub-orbital tourism