NASA announces 1st private spacecraft flight to ISS

US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced the launch date for the first test flight of a commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission, which will test a vehicle intended to carry cargo and eventually crew to orbit
represents an important step for the burgeoning private space industry, experts say.

SpaceX is going to send its unmanned space capsule Dragon to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) on February 7 next year.

This will be the first time that NASA would use a commercial flight to ferry supplies up to the ISS.

Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, has been approved by NASA to make its first commercial supply run to the ISS. SpaceX has been working on its Dragon "reusable flying aircraft" to get it ready for its first big supply run.

"SpaceX is excited to be the first commercial company in history to berth with the International Space Station," the company's president Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement.

"This mission will mark a historic milestone in the future of spaceflight. We appreciate NASA's continued support and their partnership in this process."

This flight, which is the second for the company under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, will send the Dragon capsule into orbit to rendezvous with the orbiting complex in a single flight, NASA officials said.

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