I am indebted to my good friend Fraser over at Universe Today for another cool story. Lord knows this is not exactly breaking news, but as of two days ago (May 22nd) at 3:44am, the long awaited launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 shuttle and its Dragon module finally happened! After aborting the launch three days prior, the Falcon 9 left Cape Canaveral in Florida during the wee hours of the morning and achieved orbit by daybreak. Once there, the Dragon module deployed its solar arrays and began the game of cat and mouse with the International Space Station, its intended rendezvous point.
NASA anticipates that Dragon will make contact with the ISS by tomorrow morning, Eastern Daylight Time. This will consist of the ISS’s Robotic Arm (courtesy of Canadian aerospace engineers) grappling with the Dragon and guiding it to its birth on the Harmony module. This is an historic mission since it is the first time a private spacecraft has has ever docked with the ISS. Remember the bit in Fight Club where Edward Norton said that “when space exploration begins, it will be the corporations that name everything”? Well this could be it.
In the meantime, check out the video of the launch and the awesome footage and still pics taken by the Dragon spacecraft: