After Saturday’s aborted launch attempt of the Falcon 9, a second attempt on 22 May was carried out successfully. The vehicle launched at 0744 GMT from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Now in orbit the Dragon spacecraft will be conducting several tests on its chase to rendezvous with the International Space Station. The biggest test of the craft will be the safe rendezvous, approach and docking with the station. If all goes well the Dragon craft will be captured by the stations robotic arm and dock with the station on 25 May. The craft is carrying non-essential cargo for the station and once successfully docked this will be unloaded. Under the current schedule the Dragon will remain docked with the ISS until 31 May. Once undocked the craft is planned to be deorbited over the Pacific Ocean and conduct a controlled re-entry, parachute descent and then splash down 300 miles of the the western coast of Southern California and then be recovered. If all the tests of the spacecraft are successful this will clear the way for SpaceX to start commercial re-supply missions to the Space Station under a contract with NASA. The first of these missions is currently planned for August this year.
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