SpaceX Dragon Slated To Launch Oct. 7

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SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon capsule is slated to launch to the international space station Oct. 7 to make its first official cargo delivery under a 12-flight, $1.6 billion NASA contract awarded in 2008.

Liftoff from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for 8:34 p.m. EDT. A backup launch opportunity is available the following day, NASA officials said.

Dragon visited the space station for the first time in May during a demonstration mission that cleared the way for the upcoming flight.

When it leaves the pad Oct. 7, Dragon will be carrying roughly 450 kilograms of supplies, NASA officials said. If all goes according to plan, Dragon will rendezvous with the station Oct. 10, at which point Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide will grapple it with the orbiting lab’s robotic arm and berth it to the station. Dragon is scheduled to remain attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module for several weeks while the Expedition 33 crew unloads the capsule and loads it back up with cargo to return to Earth. Dragon is scheduled to depart the station in late October and splash down in the Pacific Ocean carrying more than 300 kilograms of scientific materials and roughly 200 kilograms of space station hardware, officials said.