The Dragon capsule was successfully captured by the International Space Station or ISS. The robotic arm captured the capsule carrying some 1,000 pounds of non-essential rations like food, clothing, computer equipment and student experiments. It represents the first time that a private company has launched a capsule to the ISS.
The unmanned spacecraft was launched by SpaceX’s Dragon 9 rocked on Tuesday. This is a means to replace the space shuttles, which were retired by NASA recently. Currently, NASA relies on Russia and the Soyuz rocket and spacecraft to get supplies and crew to the ISS.
The Huffington Post reports that:
NASA awarded $381 million to SpaceX as part of a 2006 agreement, according to press materials from the company. SpaceX has spent $1 billion over the last decade, the Associated Press reports.
NASA has also awarded $266 million to Orbital Sciences Corp., a Virginia-based space technology company, which has a goal of launching a rocket and spacecraft by the end of the year.
There has been a big move towards privately funded or organized space exploration in recent years as the federal government and other governments have cut back severely on funding space exploration.