SpaceX introduces the next generation Dragon cargo ship to the space station

SpaceX introduces the next generation Dragon cargo ship to the space station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the next-generation SpaceX cargo ship into orbit on Sunday, the first of a new line of high-capacity Dragon capsules featuring several advanced systems. Crew Dragon Astronaut boats.

The new cargo dragon was loaded with more than ,500 6,500 worth of crew, spare parts, scientific gear and other equipment, including commercial aircraft, the first to come under NASA’s contract – to run the company’s 21st distribution to the International Space Station. For board tests.

Unlike the original Dragon cargo ship, which had to be captured for berthing by the space station’s robotic arms, the Dragon 2 pilot crew was designed to fly all the way to docking in the same ports used by the Dragon spacecraft. However, unlike the board version, the cargo ship does not have seats or an emergency abortion system.

The previously flown Falcon 9 booster roars from the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, building the first aircraft of the next-generation SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to dock at the International Space Station.

William Harwood / CBS News

Running a day late due to bad weather, the long-awaited mission began at 11:17 a.m., with the nine-stage Merlin 1D engines of the Falcon 9 coming to life with the flame stream and propelling the 229-foot-high rocket. Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

This is the 24th Falcon 9 launch so far this year, the 101st since the rocket was launched in 2010, the 21st SpaceX ISS cargo launch and the first for the Dragon 2 capsule.

At 1.7 million in propulsion, the rocket quickly moved northeast and landed directly on the space station’s orbital plane – the spacecraft’s need was to reach the destination moving at 5 miles per second and go to the dock.

Two-and-a-half minutes after the liftoff was completed, it now exits a dense low atmosphere, the first stage, forming its fourth plane, crashing down and flying itself to land on a SpaceX droneship. This is SpaceX’s 68th successful booster recovery and 47th at sea.

Meanwhile, the second phase of the Falcon 9 continued to ascend into space, releasing the Dragon 2 capsule into its planned preliminary orbit 12 minutes after launch. If all goes well, the capsule will merge with the station on Monday and lead to docking in the upper port of the Harmony block ahead at 1:30 p.m.

The space station has eight docking ports, used by four Russian spacecraft and is at the forward end of the laboratory available to four U.S. cargo and crew ships. Used by visiting two cargo ships in US ports, which require the station’s robotic arm.

However, the other two U.S. ports have docking mechanisms that can be automated by the SpaceX crew and cargo dragons and Boeing’s CST-100 Starling crew. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, which carried four astronauts to the station last month, is docked in Harmony’s forward-high harbor, while the Dragon 2 cargo ship will make its first docking in the space-facing port above.

A camera on the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket captures the dramatic view of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft. Bishop Airlock, visible in the unrefined trunk compartment of the spacecraft, is the business module provided by Nanorax, which will be used to deploy small payloads from the space station and expose experiments to space vacuum.


NASA won $ 3.04 billion worth of communications for 20 space station reconstruction aircraft by 2020 using the original Dragon cargo ship design, and won contracts for an unspecified sum, including the use of the Dragon 2 spacecraft by 2024. The capsule, launched on Sunday, is the first of them.

SpaceX also has a $ 2.6 billion NASA contract to build and launch the Crew Dragon capsule, which was piloted to take astronauts to the space station. So far, three crew dragons, with two astronauts and one without, have arrived at the station.

For its first flight, the compression chamber of the Dragon 2 cargo ship was loaded with 803 pounds of crew; 2,100 pounds science gear; 265 pounds of space equipment; 698 pounds vehicle hardware; 102 pounds computer equipment; And 53 pounds Russian hardware.

The 2,400-pound aircraft stored in the unrefined trunk compartment of the capsule was developed by Nanorax, which facilitates flights through tests provided by the private industry, university and government. The aircraft will be connected to the left-hand port of the Peace Module and will be periodically disassembled, exposing the experiments inside and mounted into a space vacuum on its exterior.

The station already has a Japanese test aircraft, but the nanorax unit known as Bishop Airlock is about five times larger, said project manager Brock Howe.

“There are a lot of different environments that scientists can use, there are a lot of different modules, a lot of payload power and data capabilities on the plane that could really improve the ability to do some cool science,” he said.

Other equipment aboard the Dragon 2 includes the laboratory’s recently donated female-friendly next-generation toilet, gear for the station’s water recycling system, a nitrogen tank for cabin repression, and a rodent habitat with research specimens.

The experiments presented are called “bioosteroids”, which explore the role of microorganisms in two and future space mining activities designed to study how microgravity affects the heart and brain tissue.

“Bioosteroid is an experiment to study whether microorganisms, bacteria or fungi can be used to extract economically interesting components from asteroid objects,” said Charles Goggle, chief researcher and professor of astronomy at the University of Edinburgh.

“We call this a bio-mining experiment, and we hope to find out if microbes can be used to extract rare earth elements and other elements that can be used to sustain a self-sufficient human existence throughout the solar system.”

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