Los Angeles. Private space company SpaceX is to fly its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station in November, it announced Monday.
The company, based in Hawthorne, California, said that NASA had given the go ahead for a November 30 launch, which would be followed nine days later by Dragon berthing at the ISS.
The mission represents the first private rocket flight to the space station, which is currently serviced only by Russian Soyuz spacecraft since last month’s retirement of the US shuttle fleet.
The Dragon made the world’s first private trip to orbit and back in December 2010 aboard the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.
NASA announced the selection of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon Spacecraft in December 2008 to resupply the space station after the retirement of the shuttle. The 1.6-billion-dollar contract represents a minimum of 12 flights, with an option to order additional missions for a cumulative contract value of up to 3.1 billion dollars.