After acquiring NASA’s permission to go, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket took off, October 7th, 2012, at 8:35PM, PST. With a blast of blazing exhaust, the unmanned space vehicle successfully liftoff from the Space Launch Complex 40, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for a CRS-1 mission to the International Space Station.
The capsule is loaded with 882 pounds of supplies to the ISS. For its return to Earth, it will carry 1,673 pounds of experiment samples and hardware.
If all goes well as planned, Dragon capsule will then join the ISS for approximately three weeks and then goes back to Earth after successfully loading all the supplies up into the space station.
Among the supplies SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is transporting to the ISS for this operation include some spare parts, science equipment and crew supplies such as a powered middeck locker, a freezer for the space station’s scientific samples, and other important materials for the astronauts currently dwelling the ISS.
Earlier reports claimed that the middeck locker contains a classified experiment, which NASA refuses to disclose at the moment.
A ton of scientific samples will then be collected at the station and be brought to Earth by the mission capsule upon its return. SpaceX’s Dragon is also expected to transport certain types of hardware used by the engineers up till now.
Nine first-stage Merlin engines advanced the spacecraft out of the dark lower atmosphere a minute and ten seconds after launch. The first stage dropped away more than three minutes from takeoff, then a single second stage engine sustained the drive to orbit.
Images captured on camera showed a spectacular scene as the rocket climbed towards the trajectory.
Approximately, 10 minutes and 24 seconds after the takeoff, the Dragon capsule was released. After a few seconds more, camera views showed Dragon’s two solar arrays unfolding and lodging in place.
Basing on the launching procedure and its designated route, the unmanned capsule is expected to catch up with the ISS early Wednesday.
Unlike other cargo space crafts, Space Exploration Technologies’ Dragon capsule is thought to provide a regular supply chain up to the ISS and more importantly, to bring frozen samples from the outer space back to Earth for biological researches.
Dragon capsule’s CRS-1 mission to the ISS, so far sets a new era of commercial resupply flights for the reinstatement of a US-marked supply chain that was mired by the space shuttle’s sequestration.
Source: Slash Gear