SpaceX Launches Private Capsule on Historic Trip to Space Station

March 31, 2016 – 06:47 am
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches over space shuttle mockup.The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on May 22, 2012.
Credit: NASA TV

Today's launch is the last planned test flight for SpaceX under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program intended to develop a private-sector replacement for the cargo-delivery services of the retired space shuttles. SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract to fly at least 12 unmanned missions to the space station through 2015.

Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of boosting commercial access to space and, ultimately, aiming for deep-space exploration, including missions to Mars. The success of today's launch was never certain or assured, Musk had repeatedly said.

Today, the mission's uncertainty eased up a bit, he said.

"Falcon flew perfectly!!" Musk wrote in a Twitter post from Falcon 9's mission control room in Hawthorne. "Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back."

Would you take a ride on SpaceX's Dragon space capsule?

Orbital catch up

The spacecraft is due to spend its first day on orbit catching up with the 240-mile high (390 km) space station, where it will rendezvous Thursday (May 24) and perform a fly-by to within 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) to check its navigation systems. [Quiz: How Well Do You Know SpaceX's Dragon?]

he Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on May 22, 2012.On Friday (May 25), the capsule is slated to perform a series of maneuvers to approach the station, with crewmembers onboard the outpost issuing commands to Dragon. If the spacecraft passes a set of "go-no go" checks at Mission Control in Houston, NASA will approve the vehicle to approach the International Space Station. From inside, astronauts Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers will use the lab's robotic arm to grab Dragon and berth it to the station's Harmony node.

The hatches between the two spacecraft are due to be opened early Saturday (May 26), so the crew can enter Dragon and unpack its deliveries.

Dragon is due to spend about a week attached to the outpost. On May 31, the capsule will be packed with completed science experiments and other equipment, unberthed, and sent back toward Earth. The vehicle is equipped with a heat shield to withstand the fires of re-entry, and is due to splash down and be recovered by ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Private spaceflight reality


Source: www.space.com

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  • avatar Anyone know likely avenues of investigation for kernel launch failures that disappear when run under cuda-gdb? Memory assignments are within spec, launches fail on the same run of the same kernel every time, and (so far) it hasn't failed within the debugger.
    • cuda-gdb spills all shared memory and registers to local memory. So when something runs ok built for debugging and fails otherwise, it usually means out of bounds shared memory access. cuda-memcheck might help, depending on what sort of card you are using. Fermi is better than older cards in that respect.


      EDIT:
      Casting my mind back to the bad old days, I remember having an ornery GT9500 which used to throw similar NV13 errors and have random code failures when running very memory intensive kernels with a lot of shared memory activity. Never when debugging. I put it down to bad hardware …