After a series of delays, SpaceX is finally expected to launch on May 7th. The event will mark the first time a privately owned vessel has made the long, hard trip to the International Space Station (ISS). Additionally, this adventure represents a return to space travel since NASA famously ended its program last year.
The Dragon, a transport that will carry supplies to those on-board the ISS, was originally scheduled to make its excursion into the the cosmos on February 7th. However, SpaceX determined that more tests were required before properly launching the capsule, pushing the date back to April. Now that everything appears to be a-okay with the space-bound container, officials have penciled its initial flight for May. The time of the launch is scheduled for 9:38am.
When the Dragon docks with the ISS, it will bring with it 1,149 pounds of cargo. The return trip home will find the capsule carrying a 1,455 payload back to Earth.
Privately funded trips into space are expected to become the norm within the next ten years. NASA has dumped an impressive $270 millions into such programs, which they hope will become big business in the near future. These commercial flights will also allow US astronauts to make trips to the ISS without relying on the Russian space program for assistance, the price for which is estimated to skyrocket by 2015.
Companies such as BlueOrigin LLC, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Boeing are looking to toss their space-friendly hats into the proverbial ring, as well.
For an animated look at what’s expected to transpire at the International Space Station this May, take a peek at the video embedded below.