Bolden: SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Boosts NASA’s Confidence
[Satellite TODAY 06-08-10] NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Friday’s launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has boosted the agency’s confidence that a resupply vehicle will be available after the Space Shuttle fleet is retired this year, according to a NASA statement released June 7.
“SpaceX’s accomplishment is an important milestone in the commercial transportation effort and puts the company a step closer to providing cargo services to the International Space Station. Preparations are proceeding for the first NASA-sponsored test launch under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project later this year,” said Bolden.
SpaceX launched its Falcon-9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch facility on June 4. The rocket was carrying SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle qualification unit.
SpaceX will perform two more Falcon 9 flights carrying the Dragon spacecraft under NASA’s COTS contract to demonstrate delivery of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) as well as returning cargo to Earth. Following those flights, SpaceX will begin the NASA COTS, conducting a minimum of 12 cargo flights by 2015 with a guaranteed minimum of 20,000 kilograms to be carried to the ISS.