SpaceX Launches Vehicle to Dock at International Space Station
The company SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 spacecraft today that marks the very first time a private company has ever sent a vessel to the International Space Station. The rocket holds the Dragon capsule, which NASA and SpaceX hope will dock at the station where the crew will pull food, water and other provisions from the capsule. The next big test comes later this week when the dragon capsule is set to dock with the ISS.
Former Astronaut Tom Jones joined Happening Now to talk about this first private rocket. Following the shuttle’s retirement, Jones said there was no other way to get about 40 metric tons of supplies to the International Space Station for research unless hiring Russia to do it, until the the Falcon 9.
“This is a spectacular first step,”
Jones said. He added that NASA hopes this private enterprise will be able to do what the government used to do through NASA.
He stressed that NASA needs to save money on the cargo shipments so that it will allow them to free up funds to do actual research on ISS. "They can’t get going on those projects until they deliver these cost savings. It’s a really big element of NASA’s future strategy.”
After this first step with SpaceX, Jones said it will allow private industry to get access to space, develop their own space stations, innovate, and to make money in space in a way that NASA’s not chartered to do.