dragonlab orbit m SpaceX shuttle makes history with approach to International Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon supply ship is making its final approach to the International Space Station (ISS) after a successful launch that could hint at the future of space exploration and colonisation by private corporations.

The SpaceX Dragon supply ship is making its final approach to the International Space Station (ISS) after a successful launch that could hint at the future of space exploration and colonisation by private corporations.

 
The unmanned capsule, containing food, clothes and other material for astronauts on the $100 billion space station, will approach the ISS before being grabbed by a robotic arm to pull it in from the vacuum of space.
 
The mission has so far been a remarkable success, with a flawless take-off of the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday, which carried the Dragon capsule into space.
 
SpaceX secured a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the ISS with at least 12 more shuttle launches over the next few years. A competing company called Orbital Sciences has been afforded a $1.9 billion contract for similar supply missions to the ISS, showing that this is already a growing field.
 
dragon preparing to berth SpaceX shuttle makes history with approach to International Space Station
 
SpaceX is also hoping that in three years time it can start carrying astronauts to and from the space station, since only Russia is currently able to do that on its Soyuz capsules. This will mark another breakthrough that may see all government space agencies hiring private firms to supply rockets and shuttles. 
 
The White House, NASA and SpaceX said this marks a new era in space flight, because this is the first time a commercial company has succeeded in flying a spacecraft into orbit and to the ISS. Since NASA retired its shuttles last year, only Russia, Europe and Japan have been able to send supply ships to the ISS, making private firms an important asset for the future of space exploration.
 
SpaceX is owned by billionaire Elon Musk, best known for founding PayPal and selling it to eBay. He also leads electronic car company Tesla Motors and solar panel firm Solar City, showing a strong interest in the technology of tomorrow.
 
Source: AFP
Image Credit: SpaceX