SpaceX in 2012

It would be hard to be interested in spaceflight and to not have at least a passing interest in SpaceX, the California-based orbital transport company founded by Elon Musk. Going on the compiled research by the never-tiring Wikipedians, I count four scheduled launches of the Falcon 9 rocket in 2012:

  • February 8 – NASA COTS Demo 2/3, where two previous demo flights for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS) program (to deliver supplies commercially to the ISS) have been combined. An unmanned Dragon capsule will attempt a docking with the ISS.
  • August 9 – Combo mission (likely contingent on the success of COTS Demo 2/3) with a resupply mission to the ISS with a Dragon (Dragon CRS1) as well as launching two communications satellites for Orbcomm (Orbcomm 2-1 and 2-2).
  • December 8 – Another Dragon-borne ISS resupply mission (Dragon CRS2).
  • Unspecified Q4 – Likely contingent on a successful August mission (and, given the difficulties of spaceflight, possibly a 2013 mission), involving the launch of two more Orbcomm satellites (Orbcomm 2-3 and 2-4) as well as science/commercial mission called CASSIOPE 1 from MDA.

SpaceX Dragon on Approach to the ISS (Source: SpaceX)

Edit (Jan 17): The February 7/8th launch has been delayed.

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