Spectacular SpaceX Launch Opens Historic New Era in Spaceflight
by KEN KREMER on MAY 22, 2012
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off at 3:44 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., to begin a demonstration test flight to the International Space Station as the first private spacecraft to dock at the orbiting laboratory complex. Credit: Ken Kremer
Following this morning’s (May 22) spectacular nighttime blastoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, human exploration of the cosmos embarked on a radical new course that will never be the same again.
The long awaited liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:44 a.m. lit up the Florida Space Coast for miles around as it roared off Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on a history making mission bound for the International Space Station (ISS).
In a split second the page was turned to open a new era in humankinds exploration and exploitation of space that promises adventures to come that will one day be viewed as building a bridge from the dawn of the space age and the first human steps on the moon to starships that will one day ply the shores of interstellar space.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped by the Dragon cargo capsule thundered to space from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:44 am (May 22) and is now safely in orbit with solar arrays deployed and is chasing the ISS flying some 249 miles overhead.
“Every bit of adrenaline in my body released at that moment,” said Elon Musk to reporters at the post launch media briefing about the moment the rocket lifted off the pad. Musk is the founder, CEO and chief designer of SpaceX. “People were really giving it their all. For us, it was like winning the Super Bowl.”
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket clears the tower after liftoff at 3:44 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,on the first commercial mission to the International Space Station. Credit: Ken Kremer/www.kenkremer.com
Dragon will be the first private spacecraft that will rendezvous and dock with the ISS. After conducting a complicated series of rendezvous tests and maneuvers, docking is expected on day 4 of the mission on Friday morning EDT, May 26.
Dragon will fly within range of the robotic arm. NASA Astronaut Don Pettit will grapple it and berth the Dragon on the earth facing side of the Harmony module.
NASA TV will provide live docking coverage
- Spectacular SpaceX Launch Opens Historic New Era in Spaceflight (universetoday.com)
- “New era in exploration” (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Launch Pictures: SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule Roars to Space Station (space.com)
- Commercial spacecraft speeds toward space station (sacbee.com)
- Photos: Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket launch (photos.denverpost.com)
- NASA’s Video of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch (theatlantic.com)
- SpaceX launches first commercial cargo spacecraft (thestar.com)
- National News: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 ushers in new era of commercial spaceflight (coventrytelegraph.net)
- UK News: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 ushers in new era of commercial spaceflight (walesonline.co.uk)
- SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Poised at Pad to Open New Space Era (universetoday.com)