SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his team of engineers have been testing their Falcon Rocket and Dragon capsule endlessly for weeks and if all goes well the commercial space company will launch its first mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday at 4:55am ET.
While the launch is historical because it marks the first commercial launch of a rocket to work alongside NASA in delivering goods to the ISS, company founder Musk stressed to the New York Times that issues will likely arise:
“I think there’s a significant chance the mission does not succeed.”
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is carrying low-priority items to the ISS supply station including food, clothes and even some high school science projects. This first launch is considered a “test launch” by both SpaceX and NASA.
Among the high school science experiments is a bottle of wine meant to test whether it will ferment faster in space.
SpaceX was suppose to reach the International Space Station in 2009 but those efforts were slowed as they encountered hardware and software issues that prevented them from travelling to the station. Yet despite issues on the engineering side SpaceX has never had a failed rocket launch once all systems were go.
While nearly three years worth of delays might seem like a big deal, that is still much faster than NASA’s own testing processes which can be delayed for far longer periods of time as previously disasters have caused NASA scientists to walk on egg shells when it comes to new product launches. It is the speed at which SpaceX works that led NASA to award the company a $1.5 billion contract.