Dragonfire over the Eastern Seaboard Tonight.
If you live along the East Coast, watch for the glow of the SpaceX Falcon tonight as it rockets the Dragon capsule on a resupply mission to the International Space Station. You’ll have to catch it during its three minute, nine engine, first stage burn because you most likely won’t be able to see the single engine second stage burn. For ISS launches, rockets depart from the Florida coast and fly North East along the coast.
The technology development for these commercial resupply missions was made possible under the COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation System) program, started under then-President G.W. Bush in conjuction with his cancellation of the Space Shuttle program after the Columbia accident. CCDev (Commercial Crew Development), emphasized by President Obama to develop commercial manned launches to the ISS instead of using NASA rockets, is currently underway. The SpaceX Dragon capsule is part of both programs and has been designed from the ground up for manned flight, though this launch carries only cargo.
We should all support any effort that gets our respective countries closer to the routine human launch capability that is at the core of our species’ future in space.
The rocket is scheduled to launch at 8:35 pm EDT.