The Dragon lifts off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
CAPE CANAVERAL (October 8, 2012)—A SpaceX Dragon capsule loaded with almost 900 pounds of supplies was en route to a rendezvous with the International Space Station Monday.
The capsule was launched Sunday night on top of a Falcon 9 Rocket on first of a dozen commercial supply missions under the company’s $1.6 billion contract with NASA.
“We are right where we need to be at this stage in the mission,” said Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Technical Officer, SpaceX.
“We still have a lot of work to do, of course, as we guide Dragon’s approach to the space station. But the launch was an unqualified success.”
The capsule is carrying 882 pounds of supplies including chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream for the three station residents and will return to Earth with a 1,673-pound load of material including nearly 870 pounds of scientific research.
A Dragon was launched on a test flight to the space station in May, but its load included nothing vital.
Dragon will reach the orbiting lab Wednesday and will remain docked for nearly three weeks before returning to Earth with an even bigger load.
"Just over one year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we have returned space station cargo resupply missions to U.S. soil and are bringing the jobs associated with this work back to America," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
SpaceX operates a rocket testing facility in McGregor west of Waco and is considering a site in South Texas as a possible spaceport.