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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

SpaceX’s First Contract Cargo Mission Set for Next Month

•, By Jason Paur
 SpaceX successfully completed the demonstration flight of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation System back in May, which did include delivering some non-essential cargo. Elon Musk also sent out a video over the weekend showing the first (very short) flight of the company’s vertical take-off and landing system it plans to use on future rockets.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will again launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida and will carry about 1,000 pounds of supplies, including materials for 63 new scientific investigations, according to NASA. The Commercial Resupply Services flight is being called CRS-1 and includes flying more than 700 pounds of scientific materials and 500 pounds of station hardware. With the retirement of the space shuttle orbiters, the Dragon capsule is the only vehicle capable of bringing back large amounts of cargo. The Soyuz spacecraft can return to Earth with three passengers, but has limited cargo space. Other cargo resupply vehicles are designed to burn up during reentry.

The Dragon is expected to return in late October and will again splash down off of the coast of California after descending under a parachute.

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