SpaceX Gets Launch Date For First ISS Supply Run

SpaceX, the privately held, Southern California developer of spacecraft and rockets, said Friday that NASA and the firm have announced October 7th, 2012, as the target launch date for its first resupply mission to the International Space Station. According to SpaceX, the launch of its Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft will be 8:34 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral. The launch comes after the huge success of the first docking of the SpaceX Dragon with the ISS in May; NASA now has SpaceX set for 12 missions under a commercial resupply contract. The announcement came on an appropriate day for Southern California's aerospace industry, as the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour made its victory lap around the LA basin, before landing at LAX. SpaceX says that its aircraft and the mission will be the first time that America has had the capability to deliver and return cargo from the ISS since the Space Shuttle was retired. SpaceX said its first supply mission will include materials to support 166 experiments in plant cell biology, human biotechnology, and materials technology. (Photo: SpaceX's Dragon being released from the ISS in May).