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Private spacecraft started to ISSThe Falcon 9 rocket-powered spaceflight launch system carrying the Dragon spacecraft designed and manufactured by SpaceX, started to the International Space Station, as the NASA officials reported. The Dragon landmark cargo mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 8 October at 04:35 Moscow Time was the first-ever commercial start of private spacecraft to ISS.
The Dragon cargo is scheduled to reach the ISS on 10 October. Astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihido Hoshide will make the docking of the spacecraft with the ISS. The Dragon spacecraft is carrying about 450 kilograms of payload including materials needed for 166 scientific experiments.
At the end of October, the Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to depart the ISS and then return to Earth and land in the Pacific Ocean. It will bring to Earth a wealth of scientific data as well as 230 kilograms of equipment no longer needed aboard the space station.
In all, the NASA and SpaceX contract on commercial cargo resupply services to the ISS provides for 12 flights of the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS. The contract is valued $1.6 billion.
A Dragon cargo ship has already made its flight to the ISS and successfully docked to it last May. That mission was considered to be test and did not involve the delivery of any significant cargo.
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