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SpaceX readies for 1st cargo run to ISS

According to weather forecasters there is 60 percent chance of favorable weather over the weekend for Space X launch

The first cargo run of Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX to the International Space Station (ISS) is on the verge of a spectacular launch Sunday night.

The California based company is preparing for a flight in which they will attempt to send the Dragon spacecraft from Florida to the orbiting lab and its three-member crew.

The SpaceX unmanned Dragon capsule set atop a Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to take off at 8:35 p.m. EDT towards the ISS for the second time ever.

This is the first mission under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to provide a dozen supply flights to the ISS.

After the retirement of the shuttle program NASA selected SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to take over the job of transporting cargo to and from the Space Station.

Weather conditions look favorable
According to weather forecasters there is 60 percent chance of favorable weather over the weekend for Space X launch.

According to them, there is only a 40 percent chance of rain or a thick cloud cover interfering with the countdown, leading to a delay.

A Dragon cargo ship successfully docked to the space station this May in a test flight.

"I'm not sure any [members] of the engineering team, frankly, or myself feels like this [mission] is substantially different than the last one with the exception that we got there once. We demonstrated we could do it. So there might be a teeny, teeny bit of relaxation. Uhm, not a lot though,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told reporters at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Saturday evening.

To deliver and return cargo
The Dragon capsule will carry 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds) of cargo including food, clothes, gear and ice cream for the space lab. It will also haul a freezer for experiments.

The capsule will remain docked to the ISS and bring back blood and urine samples, other research material and old equipment on its return to Earth at the end of the month.

Julie Robinson, a program scientist at NASA stated, "The SpaceX Dragon is a really important vehicle for us because it supports the laboratory use of ISS both in bringing cargo up to the space station and in bringing research samples home, and it has a great return capability. It essentially replaces that capacity that we lost when the shuttle retired."

NASA selects SpaceX to transport cargo to ISS
SpaceX is the first private company to fly to the research complex which is owned by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada.

After the retirement of the shuttle program NASA selected SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to take over the job of transporting cargo to and from the Space Station.

While initial flights will focus on cargo, SpaceX has been designed to transport crew and manned flights to the ISS are likely to begin in three years.