NASA, SpaceX Select March 1 for Next Cargo Resupply Services Flight

NASA has announced a planned Mar. 1, 2013 launch date for the next mission under the space agency's Commercial Resupply Services contract. The mission will be carried out by a Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida. Photo Credit: NASA
NASA has announced a planned March 1, 2013, launch date for the next mission under the space agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The mission will be carried out by a Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida. Photo Credit: NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — NASA and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced today that they are targeting March 1 for the next flight under the space agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract (making this mission CRS-2). Launch is currently slated to take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 10:10 a.m. EST (9:10 a.m. CST). 

This will be the next cargo flight conducted by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) since the first CRS mission roared into the history books in October 2012. Not everything went as smoothly as NASA and SpaceX may have liked with CRS-1, but the issues were apparently resolved in time for next month’s launch.

SpaceX has made great strides in expanding its presence. From developing new and reliable spacecraft and rockets - to signing deals with a great number of aerospace firms. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian / AmericaSpace
SpaceX has made great strides in expanding its presence, from developing new and reliable spacecraft and rockets to signing deals with a great number of aerospace firms. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian / AmericaSpace

This upcoming mission will see approximately 1,200 lbs (544 kilograms) delivered to the ISS; this will include experiments that are to be conducted on the orbiting laboratory. If all goes according to plan, the mission will conclude March 25 with Dragon gently splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja, Calif. It, however, will not be empty. It will carry some 2,300 lbs (1,043 kilograms) of samples and equipment back down to Earth. Dragon—unlike the Russian Progress, Japanese HTV, and European ATV—is not incinerated upon re-entry. Although not capable of touching down safely on land, and far smaller than the shuttle (two Dragon spacecraft could fit inside the now-retired space plane’s payload bay), the Dragon is promoted as being partially reusable. As with most major events held by NASA, the space agency is inviting 50 enthusiasts of various social media outlets—including, but not limited to, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook—for one of the agency’s “Socials.” Those selected will be chosen by NASA on a case-by-case basis and treated the same as actual journalists. To be accepted for this event, social media followers with U.S. citizenship need to apply by 5 p.m. EST, Feb. 22. For social media fans who are not U.S. residents, this deadline is 5 p.m. EST, Feb. 15.

Under the CRS contract that SpaceX has with NASA, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based firm must launch a total of 12 resupply flights to the ISS (11 now). SpaceX is actually doing pretty good, as it requested and received permission to condense elements of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services contract, thus reducing the amount of missions that SpaceX had to fly before moving on to CRS.

The NewSpace firm has also managed to sign a large number of contracts with companies wanting to use the Falcon 9 to send their payloads into orbit. Moreover, SpaceX currently plans to launch the first of its Falcon Heavy rockets this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with the first launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station either in 2013 or 2014.

Missions » ISS »


  1. Nice writeup however could have mentioned the fact that Dragon will be returning to Earth with approx. 2300 lbs of experiments, samples, and equipment from the ISS, the only vehicle having a return capability. That’s probably more important at this point than the potential re-usability.


    • Hi Jason. Quick response! Thought it was important since no other spacecraft in the world other than Soyuz has the return capability. Also since SpaceX is part of the NASA Commercial Crew Program and plan to use a version of the Dragon for crew, seems like they’re retiring a fair amount of risk by proving up this capability.

      • Neil,
        The fact that Dragon is reusable was mentioned in the first posting (while I was still researching specifics). Soooo…
        Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  2. Ok soooo… I think I know where you’re coming from. Are you simply equating ‘reusable’ with ‘able to bring stuff back’? If so, then it wasn’t obvious to me and I’m following the programs so probably not obvious to the general reader. Still think it was worth mentioning that there was stuff coming back where previously there wasn’t. Besides, Soyuz has bugger all downmass apart from people – which is pretty important after all – but doesn’t help the research side of the ISS much.

    Anyway, as you say, perhaps its a bit of a nitpick.


  3. Neil,
    You’re confusing spacecraft that currently carry crew – with those that currently do not. Whenever I mention Dragon’s abilities I focus on spacecraft that are comparable to it, Progress, HTV & ATV (in this article I do mention shuttle – but to provide a sense of scale).
    My use of the term reusable – isn’t my term – rather it’s how SpaceX refers to their product.

    Again, you made your, “Nice Writeup – but…” post after I’d already mentioned the fact that Dragon would be returning to Earth – so your first nitpick – complained that the article needed something that was already there. That was what I meant by: “Soooo…”

    Moreover, this raises a good point. I find that compared to OldSpace, NewSpacers get indignant whenever an article appears about one of their firms & that article doesn’t have every single, last talking point raised that was in the company press release on the subject, or if every last NewSpace firm isn’t highlighted or those firm’s CEOs aren’t deified(this was highlighted beautifully by Aaron Oesteler AKA Ferris Valyn in my 2013 NewSpace Optimism Op-Ed). You guys really need to grow some thicker skin. I can’t wait to see how you handle the loss of a vehicle, or worse yet, the loss of a crew – especially when you can’t handle the fact that I didn’t highlight the Dragon’s 2,300 LBS down mass capability in the first pass of an article!
    Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  4. Hi Jason. I raised the Soyuz comparison simply because it’s the only space vehicle that does currently return to Earth. Well in one piece anyway 🙂 None of the cargo-only ones have that capability.
    That’s the distinction, not the fact that they carry cargo but that they can’t return anything to Earth. Progress, HTV, ATV all have great capability uphill but nothing other than garbage disposal on the way down.

    BTW the loss of a vehicle with a crew isn’t part of this discussion (well I didn’t think so) but if you wish to mention it, NASA flew the Shuttle with no escape system whatsoever on what was essentially an experimental vehicle. NASA tried to treat it as operational but by any normal standards, it wasn’t. Consequently they lost 14 lives and 40% of their fleet. I wouldn’t expect a commercial venture to suffer those losses and survive but NASA did it not once but twice with known root causes and they had the technical advice on both. Anyway that, as they say, is history.

    As you’re well aware, the current crop of new vehicles are all going to be fitted with crew escape capability (NASA requirement) which should dramatically reduce that horrible possibility since requirement is from launch to orbit. I can wait an eternity if necessary to see such a thing not happen. But eventually I suppose it will.

    NASAs Orion, who knows? They’re currently 4000lbs overweight and using the tower (old tech’) don’t have the same escape margins. They’ve also got to deal with SRBs on the first stage of SLS which increases the requirments due mainly to the continuing acceleration of the SRB after detachment of the capsule. If the SRB has blown to bits then the capsule has to escape the pieces and the resultant fireball. It’s a difficult issue.

    Neil Shipley

    • Neil,
      I have the benefit of being the editor & can highlight whatever facts I deem relevant – no matter how much some would like to ignore them. Yes, the shuttle was a deeply flawed spacecraft (read my past articles). Your comment about “waiting an eternity” – I hope you’re correct. However, the way you wrote it – smacks of NewSpace arrogance. As they say, “pride goeth before a fall” – & the pride you & other NewSpacers show – ensures NewSpace will have an accident(s).

      And of course, you slam Orion. Virtually ignoring the fact that it too has an escape system (you did make sure to trumpet the escape capabilities of NewSpace craft – hypocritical much?). As to the SRBs – what does that have to do with the escape capabilties of Orion? Orion uses an escape tower that would pull it away from the vehicle in the advent of a accident. So you’re essentially trying to throw whatever you can at the wall & see what sticks, ignoring the positive aspects of Orion while espousing similar aspects of NewSpace craft!

      Also, you pose the possibility of NewSpace losing a craft as remote – but NASA as guaranteed. WOW! You’re really a NewSpacer aren’t you? Arrogant, biased & conceited. Now, before you say I’m being insulting – you need to look at what you’ve been posting. That’s not me being mean – that’s an accurate assessment of the negative, derogatory & insulting attitude you (& other NewSpacers) have repeatedly displayed. There’s a reason why I dedicated an entire Op-Ed to this behavior – it’s disgusting – NewSpace has a lot of growing up to do. We get it – you hate NASA – how nice for you. However, there are many people out there who have not intentionally blinded themselves to the good that the agency has accomplished as you have. That’s what I’m trying to get you to do. Yes, by all means, highlight NewSpace’s accomplishments – but don’t behave as if NASA never has & never will do anything good. It’s less than childish & to be honest? It’s getting old.

      Since NewSpace is so terrific – why don’t you chat about Orbital’s or Sea Launch’s recent successes? Oh, wait…

      That’s the point, the fact that people such as yourself think that newcomers to the space “scene” can do better than the agency that has been doing for over 50 years? -is a stunning display of teenage “know-it-all” attitude. I know you want to mention SpaceX, however, they got their experience the old-fashioned way – they bought it. Moreover, the only NewSpace companies that have achieved anything of note are Scaled Composites & SpaceX and only SpaceX has reached orbit. So, in all honesty, aren’t you just bragging about what these companies claim they are going to do? That’s reality.

      You really need to read the tone of your post – it’s arrogant, biased, condescending &, well, is just typical NewSpacer… The reason I mentioned the loss of crew on a commercial vehicle – is the same reason I wrote an Op-Ed about NewSpacers’ lousy attitude. How do you think this behavior you guys display is going to be repaid when NewSpace does lose a crew? I keep asking this question for a reason. I know the answer. I also know that NewSpacers are mentally incapable of acknowledging the accomplishments of NASA, of trying to work toward a middle ground, of being unbiased and of acknowledging that when a crew is lost on a NewSpace vehicle that this behavior will come back to haunt them. In short, I know NewSpace fans such as yourself are incapable of behaving like adults.

      Neil, I could go round & round with you, but what’s the point? You only want to have people agree with your opinions & will never even consider the points of view of anyone other than yourself. How do I know that? Simple, it’s how you’ve always behaved and it’s a NewSpacer trait. I also know that my last two replies have been harsh, but after someone with no experience on the ground tries to “school” me about the reality of the situation – it’s what you deserve. I’ve covered over 40 launches – manned & unmanned (OldSpace & NewSpace). I’ve traveled across the country covering this subject, researched it at length, was present when the president tried to divert NASA’s course and on & on. So to have someone, who by all accounts, only knows what he thinks he knows by trolling the press releases on NewSpace sites & blogs? I find it more than a little insulting. I’ve been doing this professionally for almost a decade now & I don’t appreciate (nor would anyone) someone who gets their talking points from pro-NewSpace sites essentially telling me I’m not biased enough. What I see happening is you’ve gone to blogs that slam NASA while lauding NewSpace. Then you come here & hear someone say that both sides should be made to work together & that both sides have merit – & you can’t handle that. It’s called being unbiased – you should try looking into it. Oh, and by the way? That was me giving you back a bit of the condescending attitude you’ve been showing. How was it?

      Sincerely and with warmest regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • YES!! Someone with the intelligence, integrity, and courage to say, “The Emperor has no clothes!” Thank you Jason for your refreshing journalistic honesty and impartiality in the face of lemming-like adherence to newspace dogma, at times it must seem as though you are confronting a religious cult. Please keep up the good fight Jason and Jim, the space community desperately needs your objective analysis and insight, God knows we have more than enough newspace cheerleaders and Kool-Aid drinkers who expect to retire on Mars by 2023. Carpe Diem gentlemen!

        • Karol,
          It does feel like I’m dealing with a cult of zombies sometimes (nasty, immature ones at that). It’s my hope that I can find one or two of them with the ability to see the logic behind allowing NewSpace manage LEO operations while NASA focuses on BEO. To date, I’ve not encountered that. Just the usual two “selfs” of NewSpace – self-centered & selfish. It’s amazing to see how shallow these people are. They’d gladly gut space exploration capabilities so long as they can take some space tourism hop into sub orbit/orbit. It’s really sad.
          Sincerely and with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Seems like I touched a nerve. When I have more time I’ll respond point by point to your post above which I believe does misrepresent what I was trying to say.
        Let me say for now that I was not intending to come across as arrogant so apologies since it appears that I have done so. Second, not quite a teenager. Next, didn’t think I was posting personal attacks. That’ll do for now.

        • Neil,

          No actually I’m not “misrepresenting” what you’ve said – I’m saying I’m sick of how arrogant NewSpace trolls say it.

          Yes you did intend to come across as arrogant. Take a good long look at your asinine “wishing” comment. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can be 98 & still sound like a whiny teenage brat.

          Neil: “I didn’t think I was posting personal attacks” – now you’re just lying. Anyone reading your snotty comments can see the condescending attitude dripping off of them. In fact, during your last “NewSpace is Great” cheerleading session another visitor commented on it.

          It seems all you do when you come here is talk down to anyone who points out facts you don’t like, nitpicks because the article doesn’t laud his NewSpace gods & act like we’re all a pack of idiots.

          “That’ll do for now”? Who do you think you are? My mother? Neil, You seem to get your jollies by treating others like children. Go back to the sites that feed your personal beliefs. We don’t appreciate you coming here & treating people like fools in front of your Gandhi-esque wisdom.

          Also, much like your comments prior, what you “believe” – is the problem. You think just because you say it then that must be so. You think you can come here with the typical NewSpace snotty attitude & talk down to people & it is okay – because you deem it so. I’m here to tell you it isn’t. Here are your choices: Grow up & treat people with opposing views with respect or go away.

          Yes you touched a nerve, obnoxious comments, haughty attitudes & arrogance from people who feel that they have single-handedly rewritten space history, when their champions have actually accomplished precious little have that affect on me. Put simply, I’ve had it. I’m not interested in your rebuttals. Given your complete lack of respect for anyone’s opinions other than your own – your opinions are worthless.

          If you want to have a respectful debate, ask questions & join the discussion – great. We welcome it. If you want to talk down to people and lord your “genius” over them – go back to the sites that tolerate that sort of thing.

          Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  5. It should be interesting to see how the “commercial venture”, “free-enterprise”, “for profit”, NASA-bashing newspacers fare after sequestration on 1 March and they are pushed away from the taxpayer-filled trough.

      • Neil,
        ULA, ATK, Boeing, Lock-Mart, SpaceX, Orbital (once they prove the viability of Antares) and others as they prove that their systems work.
        Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

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