Monday, September 24, 2012

SpaceX Dragon to launch Oct. 7 - But why only a 1000 pounds of cargo?

SpaceNewsNow - SpaceX's Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch towards the ISS on October 7.  NASA calls the flight SPX-1, the first scheduled commercial run to the station. It will carry 1000 pounds of cargo to ISS and return 1200 pounds to earth.

Why only 1000 pounds cargo to the station on this run?  SpaceX's contract with NASA calls for it to haul 20 tons of cargo in 12 flights to the ISS. That's about 3400 pounds per flight. So why only 1000 pounds of cargo this flight?

There's speculation that the Falcon 9 booster is under-powered?  Is the amount of cargo constrained by volume rather than weight?  Is it something else?

If you know the answer, why not comment below and clue the rest of us in. 

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SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft To Launch Oct. 7 On First Contract Mission To ISS: "A private space capsule's first contracted cargo mission to the International Space Station is slated to launch Oct. 7, NASA officials announced today (Sept. 20).

SpaceX's robotic Dragon spacecraft is set to blast off atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:34 p.m. EDT on Oct. 7 (0034 Oct. 8 GMT). A backup launch opportunity is available the following day, officials said.

The mission will kick off Dragon's first-ever bona fide supply run to the station. California-based SpaceX holds a $1.6 billion NASA contract to make 12 such unmanned flights."