SpaceX Falcon 9/COTS-1 Launch

 

 

Watch the launch from KSC pad 40 live on SpaceFlightNow.com. A big deal for private launchers, the demo payload Dragon is test whether it will one day get supplies to the ISS. The low-down, via SpaceX

This is the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to develop commercial supply services to the International Space Station and encourage the growth of the commercial space industry.

COTS is also an acronym used by government acquisition officials for ―commercial off-the -shelf,‖ meaning that the government should, when possible, take advantage of commercially available products of equal quality and utility when doing so is the most cost-effective option.

After the Space Shuttle retires, SpaceX will make at least 12 flights to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract for NASA awarded in 2008. The $1.6 billion contract represents a minimum of 12 flights, with an option to order additional missions for up to $3.1 billion. Only SpaceX has the ability to return cargo from the station.

This has been a strong government-commercial partnership. SpaceX has only come this far by building upon the incredible achievements of NASA, having NASA as an anchor tenant for launch, and receiving expert advice and mentorship throughout the development process.

With the savings NASA will see by using SpaceX for low-Earth transportation, billions of dollars are freed up for other activities such as accelerating exploration efforts that go beyond low-Earth orbit, advanced telescopes and Earth science missions.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft were designed to one day carry astronauts; both the COTS and CRS missions will yield valuable flight experience toward this goal.

 Go Falcon 9!

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