SpaceX Dragon Blasts Off For International Space Station

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Oct. 8 2012 9:59 AM

SpaceX Dragon Blasts Off For International Space Station, Brings Ice Cream

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 7.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 7.

Photo by Bruce Weaver/AFP/GettyImages

Who cares whether NASA or a private contractor is in charge of shuttling cargo to and from the International Space Station, as long as they bring ice cream?

On Sunday night, SpaceX's unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a Dragon cargo capsule into orbit in its first official resupply mission. MSNBC reports it's expected to link up with the International Space Station on Wednesday, bringing some 900 pounds of essential gear, including science experiments, health care equipment, and cups of Blue Bell chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream.

Advertisement

SpaceX, a private Southern California-based company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk (who also founded the electric-car company Tesla), has a $1.6 billion contract from NASA to perform 12 routine cargo resupply missions to the space station between now and 2015. This is the first official mission, following a successful test run in May. SpaceX is also among three private companies vying to become NASA's choice for shuttling humans into space. The other two are Boeing and Sierra Nevada.

The Dragon will spend about three weeks in space before splashing down in the Pacific with twice as much cargo as it brought, trading the ice cream for, among other things, astronauts' blood and urine samples.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Why Not Just Turn Campus Rape Allegations Over to the Police? Because the Police Don't Investigate.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.