SpaceX to Launch First Private Craft to Space Station Tomorrow
Unmanned capsule to return with old experiments, used astronaut gloves.
If all goes as planned, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida around 4:55 am ET. The rocket will carry an unmanned version of the private firm's Dragon space capsule.
Stuffed with cargo for the ISS crew, the gumdrop-shaped capsule should separate from the rocket components approximately ten minutes after launch.
Over the next several days, Dragon will undergo a gauntlet of test maneuvers and systems demonstrations before being allowed to berth with the space station next Tuesday.
"If it fails one of the steps—depending on which step it fails and what its fuel reserves are at the time—it may have the opportunity to try again," said Robert Pearlman, editor of the space-history