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SpaceX capsule readied for NASA test

Dec. 9, 2011 at 7:43 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- NASA says the launch of Space Exploration Technologies' second Dragon spacecraft demonstration flight is set for February, pending completion of final reviews.

NASA also has agreed to let SpaceX allow its spacecraft -- scheduled be launched Feb. 7 -- to rendezvous with the International Space Station, an agency release said Friday.

"SpaceX has made incredible progress over the last several months preparing Dragon for its mission to the space station," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. "We look forward to a successful mission, which will open up a new era in commercial cargo delivery for this international orbiting laboratory."

During the flight, Dragon will conduct a fly-by of the space station at a distance of approximately 2 miles to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous and approach.

Dragon will perform the final approach to the ISS while the station crew grapples the vehicle with the station's robotic arm for docking.

"SpaceX is excited to be the first commercial company in history to berth with the International Space Station," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said.

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