While all eyes are on the arrival of space shuttle Endeavour to Southern California, engineers at rocket maker SpaceX in Hawthorne are readying its spacecraft for the first NASA contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station.
On Thursday, NASA confirmed that the much-anticipated launch of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft aboard the 18-story Falcon 9 is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 8:34 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Dragon will be filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies.
The company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., has a $1.6-billion contract to haul cargo in 12 flights to the space station for NASA. The upcoming launch will be the first flight to fulfill the contract.
In May, SpaceX carried out a successful demonstration mission to the station.
With the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, NASA is hoping to turn the job of carrying cargo and crews over to private industry at a lower cost. Meanwhile, the space agency will focus on deep-space missions to land probes on asteroids and Mars.