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 will be launched by the Antares (aka Taurus II) rocket from Launch Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia.
The selection of the firms resupplying the spacestation 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 8 December 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 15 August 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 22 May 2012, delivered cargo to the ISS and on 31 May, 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 successfully took off on Monday October 8, 2012 at 03:03:52 AM GMT, achieved orbit, successful berthing and remained on station until October 28, 2012. Dragon then re-entered the earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean successfully.
SpaceX CRS-2, the second CRS mission from SpaceX, was successfully launched on March 1, 2013.
SpaceX CRS-3, the third CRS mission from SpaceX, is scheduled for no earlier than September 30, 2013.
 Orbital Sciences
Orbital Sciences rolled out their 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 at the beginning of November 2012. The rocket successfully made its initial launch with a test payload on April 21, 2013. The first Orbital Sciences' COTS demonstration mission, a predecessor mission to the start of Orbital Commercial Resupply Services missions contracted by NASA to resupply the ISS, is scheduled for 2013.
 See also
- Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) - development of launch vehicles and cargo carriers
- Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) - development of manned spacecraft
- NASA Commercial Crew and Cargo webpage
- SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation)
- OSC (Orbital Sciences Corporation)
- "NASA to Announce Space Station Resupply Services Contract". NASA HQ. 2008-12-22.
- Morring, Jr., Frank. "Space Station Resupply Contracts Awarded". Aviation Week, December 24, 2008.
- "SpaceX, NASA Target Oct. 7 Launch For Resupply Mission To Space Station". NASA. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Antares home page". Orbital Sciences. October 2012. Retrieved 13 Oct 2012.
- "NASA Awards Space Station Commercial Resupply Services Contracts". NASA, December 23, 2008.
- Chris Bergin (January 15, 2009). "Planetspace officially protest NASA’s CRS selection".
- "B-401016; B-401016.2, PlanetSpace, Inc., April 22, 2009". GAO. April 22, 2009.
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- "Antares press release". Orbital Sciences. October 2012. Retrieved 13 Oct 2012.