SpaceX has signed a contract with NASA to fly its Falcon 10 rocket into space on the same day that a small spacecraft it is developing will attempt a series of controlled landings on an asteroid.
The company is expected to be the first private company to launch its first reusable rocket from the company’s new Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where the company is building the Falcon Heavy rocket.
The company’s first mission was on April 25, but NASA officials have said that the mission is not scheduled for a date in the near future.
SpaceX will attempt the first landing of a small rocket from its Falcon Heavy booster during the third stage of its Falcon Flight 9 mission, which is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 19.
The landing of the Falcon 9 first stage on the asteroid, called 2014 TX-17, will take place at 1:46 a.m.
EDT (0546 GMT) on May 20, NASA officials said in a statement.NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has launched four missions of astronauts to the International Space Station, and SpaceX is working on the Falcon Flight 10, a reusable rocket designed to carry a crew of four, to ferry astronauts to and from the orbiting outpost.
The first flight of a Falcon Heavy is scheduled for May 22, 2019.NASA officials said that SpaceX is not expected to have the Falcon 10 launched until the middle of 2020, when it will launch a larger version of its booster.
Spacex is not yet ready to launch the Falcon 11, a second stage booster designed to be used to deliver cargo to the ISS, NASA said.
NASA is also working on a Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, but they are still in the development stage, and the Falcon flight test program has not yet begun.
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