SpaceX to Send First Commercial Resupply Mission to Space
The occurrence of privately funded space exploration is becoming a routine thanks to Elon Musk's SpaceX and its partnership with NASA to fly supplies and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).
This Sunday, NASA and SpaceX will fly its first commercial resupply mission to the ISS. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and will carry about 1,000 pounds of supplies and materials for new scientific investigations, according to Wired.
CRS-1, The Commercial Resupply Services flight's, 1,000-pound cargo is split between 700 pounds of "scientific materials" and 500 pounds of station hardware. According to NASA, the Dragon capsule is the only vehicle capable of bringing back large amounts of cargo now that the space shuttle orbiters have been "retired."
SpaceX is also planning on building rockets capable of precision landings on solid ground. Both the Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 are expected to soon perform these journeys, as well as to have capabilities to make then reusable after landing.
The plans are a testament to Musk and his privately funded space exploration enterprise which not only is working on transporting cargo back and forth between Earth and the ISS, but also on more ambitions (and vertical) take-offs and landings that eventually will bring tourists to Mars.
SpaceX is also planning on using several other launch facilities in addition to launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. One of the potential locations the company is looking into is in Texas, where Musk's company is reportedly buying land in Cameron County, at the southern tip of the state (adjacent to Mexico), which supposedly has a similar geography to Florida's space coast.