SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launched from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 10:43 a.m. EST. This is first demonstration flight for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which will provide cargo flights to the International Space Station. SpaceX reports the Dragon spacecraft sucsessfully acheived orbit and is expected to re-enter the Earths atmosphere at aproximately 2:30 pm EST.
“When Dragon returns, whether on this mission or a future one, it will herald the dawn of an incredibly exciting new era in space travel. This will be the first new American human capable spacecraft to travel to orbit and back since the Space Shuttle took flight three decades ago. The success of the NASA COTS/CRS program shows that it is possible to return to the fast pace of progress that took place during the Apollo era, but using only a tiny fraction of the resources. If COTS/CRS continues to achieve the milestones that many considered impossible, thanks in large part to the skill of the program management team at NASA, it should be recognized as one of the most effective public-private partnerships in history.”
Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO & CTO