SpaceX’s Dragon capsule ran into some trouble after its liftoff earlier today but remains on track to reach the International Space Station Saturday.
SpaceX is a private corporation with a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The corporation will restock the space station 12 times and hopefully be on track to send other astronauts there in upcoming years.
SpaceX controls every aspect of its capsule’s flight before it reaches the space station. Once the capsule is in close enough proximity to the International Space Station, its flight will be taken over by NASA.
When the Dragon launched, three of its four sets of thrusters did not kick in when they were supposed to, delaying the release of the capsule’s solar panels, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said.
This is the first time a Dragon has had issues in orbit. This SpaceX Dragon has over one ton of space station supplies on it.
Once the Dragon reaches the International Space Station, the six astronauts on board are to draw the capsule in and dock it to the station using a robotic arm.
NASA’s goal is to have private companies like SpaceX shuttle astronauts to and from the space station. NASA said this practice is more efficient and has been spending more money on deep-space missions recently.
SpaceX’s goal for a manned Dragon flight is 2015.
Because of the Dragon’s difficulties, SpaceX will have to reconfigure rocket firings, which could affect the time the capsule meets the space station.
Once the capsule reaches the space station, the astronauts will spend back unneeded materials, components in need of analysis and experiment samples.