Friday, October 21, 2011

Next Dragon en route to Cape Canaveral

A capsule that could become the first commercial vehicle to reach the International Space Station is expected to arrive on the Space Coast this weekend, as early as Saturday.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft is completing a cross-country trip from Hawthorne, Calif., bound for Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

It will be prepared for a possible January launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket in a second demonstration mission for NASA aimed at proving the vehicles' readiness to deliver cargo to the station.

The Dragon is an upgraded version of the spacecraft that successfully orbited the planet and returned to Earth during a first demonstration flight last December.

This one includes solar arrays and more complex guidance and communications systems needed to approach and potentially dock with the station.

IMAGE: Dragon approaching International Space Station. Courtesy NASA

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