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NASA: Dragon prepared for space flight

  |   Sept. 21, 2012 at 6:22 PM
HOUSTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- NASA says the first contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station is targeted for early next month in Florida.

NASA and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo spacecraft are ready for the SpaceX CRS-1 mission Oct. 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A backup launch opportunity is available Oct. 8.

"The launch of the Dragon spacecraft will be the first of 12 contracted flights by SpaceX to resupply the space station and marks the second trip by a Dragon to the station, following a successful demonstration mission in May," NASA said Thursday in a release. "SpaceX services under the [Commercial Resupply Services] contract will restore an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including science experiments, to the orbiting laboratory -- a feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle."

NASA said the Dragon will be filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies and will return with about 734 pounds of scientific materials, as well as about 504 pounds of space station hardware.

Dragon is scheduled to return in late October for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.

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