SpaceX Successfully Completes NASA Preliminary Design Review for Dragon Spacecraft...

Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:00am EST

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SpaceX Successfully Completes NASA Preliminary Design Review for Dragon Spacecraft Mission to Approach International Space Station

HAWTHORNE, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has completed the
Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the second Falcon 9 / Dragon
demonstration under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
(COTS) project. NASA representatives attended the event, held at
SpaceX's new headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

   Under COTS, SpaceX will conduct three Falcon 9 / Dragon flights,
demonstrating the ability to approach, berth, and ultimately deliver
cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), and return cargo to
Earth. The first COTS flight will demonstrate launch, operations over
several orbits, reentry and return to Earth.

   During this second and much longer demonstration, the uncrewed
Dragon spacecraft will approach within 10 kilometers of the ISS and
hold its position. The primary objective of the four day long mission
is to demonstrate Dragon's communication and control system links to
the ISS. According to the SpaceX plan, astronauts and ground
controllers will conduct an extensive test of the two-way Dragon-ISS
UHF band communications system, which will be essential to the third
COTS demonstration mission. This system, being developed and qualified
by SpaceX, includes transceiver equipment planned for installation on
each Dragon Spacecraft and aboard the ISS. It will permit the ISS crew
to monitor and operate the Dragon craft directly.

   "Planning this mission required SpaceX to collaborate closely with
ISS personnel and it went very well," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX.
"This is a working relationship that will be increasingly important as
we move forward to meet NASA's need for transport to and from the
Space Station."

   Although these demonstrations are for cargo re-supply, SpaceX
designed the Dragon spacecraft to transport up to seven astronauts to
Earth orbit and back. "We have made substantial progress and are
confident we can address the gap between Shuttle retirement and Orion
operations," said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX VP of Business Development.
"We look forward to advancing with the crew-carrying Dragon
configuration for NASA should they give the go-ahead."

   Other objectives for this second COTS demonstration include proof
of navigation and maneuvering abilities, deployment and operation of
solar arrays and thermal cooling systems, Dragon receiving GPS data
from the ISS, and transmission of telemetry from Dragon to SpaceX
Mission Control in Hawthorne via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
System (TDRSS).

   During the meeting, held on December 19, 2007, all comments and
questions raised by NASA's experts were addressed by the SpaceX design
team. SpaceX continues its record of successfully meeting all COTS
milestones to date on schedule.

   About SpaceX

   Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is developing a family of
launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the
reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation. With its
Falcon launch vehicles, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift
capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any inclination and altitude,
including low Earth orbit, geosynchronous, and planetary missions.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
Roger G. Gilbertson, 310-363-6446

Copyright Business Wire 2008
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