Commercial Resupply Services
Commercial Resupply Services are contracts signed by NASA for the delivery of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) by commercial firms. The contracts include a minimum of 12 missions for SpaceX and 8 missions for Orbital Sciences.
The SpaceX resupply missions began flying in 2012. The Dragon cargo capsule is launched by the Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Cygnus cargo carrier was launched by the Antares (aka Taurus II) rocket from Launch Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia on September 18, 2013 and berthed to ISS on September 29, 2013.
The selection of the firms resupplying the space station was publicly discussed by NASA on December 22, 2008. NASA announced the awarding of contracts to both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation in a press conference on December 23, 2008. PlanetSpace submitted a protest to the Government Accountability Office after receiving a NASA briefing on the outcome of the award. On April 22, 2009 GAO publicly released its decision to deny the protest.
SpaceX launched their first Falcon 9 rocket and a mock-up Dragon capsule successfully on June 4, 2010. Their first flight contracted by NASA, COTS Demo Flight 1, took place on December 8, 2010, demonstrating the Dragon capsule's multiple orbit capability, ability to receive and respond to ground commands, and ability to gain and maintain directional alignment with NASA's TDRSS narrow-band satellite communication system which is used in conjunction with all manned spaceflight to the International Space Station. On August 15, 2011, SpaceX announced NASA had combined the mission objectives of the COTS Demo Flight 2 and 3 missions into a single mission, with the COTS 3 validation tests beginning only if all of the COTS 2 objectives were successfully demonstrated first.
The COTS Demo Flight 2+ mission successfully launched on May 22, 2012, delivered cargo to the ISS and on May 31, landed in the Pacific and was recovered. On August 23, 2012, NASA announced that SpaceX had successfully completed its COTS Space Act Agreement and NASA certified SpaceX to begin their CRS contracted spaceflights.
The first CRS mission, SpaceX CRS-1, was scheduled for October 8, 2012 at 00:35 UTC from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida. It was the first of 12 planned resupply missions. CRS-1 took off on October 8, 2012 at 03:03:52 AM GMT, achieved orbit, berthing and remained on station until October 28, 2012. Dragon then re-entered the earth's atmosphere and successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
Orbital Sciences rolled out its Antares rocket to the launchpad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in October 2012 in preparation for an on-pad hot-fire test of the rocket in early November 2012. The rocket successfully made its initial launch with a test payload on April 21, 2013.
Orbital Sciences' first COTS demonstration mission was successfully carried out on September 29, 2013., a week behind schedule due to a software malfunction ; this is a predecessor mission to the start of Orbital Commercial Resupply Services missions contracted by NASA to resupply the International Space Station.
- Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) - development of manned spacecraft
- NASA Commercial Crew and Cargo webpage
- SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation)
- OSC (Orbital Sciences Corporation)
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