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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

SpaceX flight to International Space Station set for 7 May

The commercial flight is set to launch at 6.38am PT that day, and, if all goes well, it could pave the way for full commercial cargo missions to space.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set for launch on 7 May.
(Credit: SpaceX)

Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, has announced plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on 7 May.

SpaceX had originally planned to launch the spacecraft next week, but it postponed the launch to give engineers more time to complete pre-flight testing and analysis. According to the company, the launch is set for 6.38am PT, weather permitting, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

If all goes well, SpaceX's spacecraft will be the first privately built and funded spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station. The goal is for SpaceX to conduct regular commercial cargo missions to the space station.

"It's almost like the lead-up to Apollo, in my mind," Mike Horkachuck, NASA's project executive for SpaceX, said in a statement. "You had Mercury, then you had Gemini and eventually you had Apollo. This would be similar in the sense that we're not going to the moon or anything as spectacular as that, but we are in the beginnings of commercialising space. This may be the Mercury equivalent to eventually flying crew, and then eventually leading to, in the long run, passenger travel in space."

Earlier this week, SpaceX said that space station rendezvous requirements would be met on 7 May, but not on 8 May or 9 May. So, if something delays the launch on 7 May, SpaceX will need to wait until 10 May at the earliest for another shot.

Click here to see photos of the history of manned space travel.


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