SpaceX Blasts Off to the ISS Tomorrow!
The first serious commercial space mission is tomorrow! SpaceX will launch a resupply mission to the International Space Station. Very cool stuff!
“Set to rocket off early Saturday, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft faces a daunting series of systems tests and complicated maneuvers — something similar to an ultra-serious shakedown cruise for a new-generation nuclear-powered submarine — before it will be given the green light to berth at the International Space Station.
The bar is raised sky-high, and for SpaceX, the idea is to show the U.S. and its 15 international partners that the Dragon poses no threat to the station or the six people living and working aboard it. SpaceX must prove the Dragon won’t crash into the complex, destroying the outpost and killing all aboard.
Then, and only then, will the Dragon be given a ‘go’ to enter the ‘Keep Out Sphere,’ a 220-yard safety zone that surrounds the sprawling, million-pound outpost.
And only then, will SpaceX be allowed to attempt a feat only federal space agencies in the U.S., Russia, Europe and Japan have accomplished: an orbital rendezvous with the station.
‘This is pretty tricky. And also, for the public out there, they may not realize that the space station is zooming around Earth every 90 minutes, and it’s going 17,000 miles per hour,’ said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. ‘This is something that is going 12 times faster than a bullet from an assault rifle. So it’s hard.'”