Science, Technology

World’s First Private Spacecraft Makes Successful Trip To International Space Station

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Image: Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño
Image: Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño

Governments from just a handful of countries have flown into space.

But never has a private company successfully sent a spacecraft into space.

Not only is it extremely expensive, but it’s incredibly risky. There are a million things that can go wrong.

Last month an American company called Space Exploration Technologies – better known as SpaceX – made history by sending its unmanned Dragon spacecraft into space.

Its job was to attach to the International Space Station and deliver some supplies.

This flight was to demonstrate that it could be done, and to work out any kinks in the plan. The hope is that Dragon and other privately owned spacecraft like it, will make regular trips to deliver supplies to the space station.

Fortunately for SpaceX, the trip went off without a hitch.

On May 22 the Dragon lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

It reached the space station three days later; the station’s robotic arm grabbed Dragon and pulled it in, where it docked onto the space station.

Before it attached itself to the space station, it went through some tests to see if its sensors and features were working well—it passed the tests with flying colours.

The Dragon was loaded up with about half a ton of equipment and experiments to bring back to earth.

The Dragon left the space station and returned to earth on May 31. It splashed down about 500 miles off of Mexico.

The CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, was elated by the success of the mission.

Musk is a businessman and engineer who helped invent the Dragon—he also co-designed the world’s first viable electric car, the Tesla Roadster, and the world’s largest Internet payment system, PayPal.

Musk told news agency AP that watching the Dragon come back to earth and splash down was “like seeing your kid come home.”

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What could the Space X Dragon’s successful mission mean for the future of space travel? Make at least three different predictions.

Reading Prompt: Reading Unfamiliar Words
Word order matters! One of the tools that readers use to help them understand what they are reading is the order of the words in the sentence. For example, the order of the words in the sentence below help you understand that “CEO” is a position in company, even if you don’t know exactly what a Chief Executive Officer actually is.

“The CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, was elated by the success of the mission.

Reorganize the jumbled sentences below in order for them to make sense.

1. A handful of countries have just flown into space from governments.

2. Loaded up with earth, the Dragon was a ton of equipment and experiments   bring back to about half to.

Primary, Junior, & Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: syntactic (language structure) cues (e.g., word order, language patterns, punctuation); (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: It’s that time again!
If there’s one thing that drives teachers nuts it’s the word it’s. The word “it’s” means “it is.” It’s a contraction and the apostrophe takes the place of the letter “i.” “It’s is not the same same as the wordits.” Its meaning is different. “Its” without an apostrophe is possessive. It tells ownership or possession. For example,

“Not only is it extremely expensive, but it’s incredibly risky.”

Its job was to attach to the International Space Station and deliver some supplies.”

Use the correct form of “it’s” or “its” in the examples below.

1. Hamza said that _______________ her football.
2. Noam and Zahra know what ________ like to be peaceful.
3. ___________ bark was worse than __________ bite!
4. _________ not about how many friends you have, ________ about how many good ones you’ve got!
5. “__________ Yuseef’s sweater,”explained Maxim.
6. Luca and Mattia memorized ___________ every move.
6. Please don’t let Onni think that ______ her fault.
7. She really liked Wilkinson. _______ students were really nice and friendly!