U.S. private company SpaceX will launch on Sunday its Dragon space freighter on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), NASA reported.
The launch of the cargo spacecraft from the Cape Canaveral in Florida is scheduled for October 7 at 8:35 p.m. local time (0:34 GMT on October 8). The freighter is expected to dock the station three days later.
It will be the first of the company’s 12 commercial flights to the ISS under a 2008 contract with NASA as the initial successful mission in May was considered a test run.
This time Dragon will take to the ISS more than 1,000 lbs (some 450 kg) of scientific cargo and is expected to bring almost the same amount of cargo upon its return.
The Dragon is a reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX to fly cargo to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year.
NASA also awarded SpaceX a Commercial Crew Development contract in April 2011 to develop a reusable spacecraft to carry up to seven astronauts, or a combination of personnel and cargo, to and from the orbital station.
At present, NASA pays Russia a hefty $63 mln for every astronaut who flies to the ISS aboard Soyuz spacecraft.