- SpaceX’s Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Monday carrying a load of cargo.
- The spacecraft went next to the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that orbited four astronauts last month.
- For the next 13 months, SpaceX will continue to have at least one spacecraft in orbit.
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A SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Monday after being launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Unlike the Crew Dragon spacecraft that flew four astronauts into orbit a few weeks ago, this model is designed to carry objects from and out of space. It carried more than, 6,400 worth of Christmas gifts, scientific experiments and other reusable items. But the crew dragon is still attached to the ISS – it is scheduled to stay in space until May, after which it will fly its crew back to Earth.
So now, two spacecraft have arrived at the space station for the first time in Elon Musk’s rocket company.
“I want to say a big congratulations,” said Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut on the first station in October. On NASA TV After the dragon is chopped.
“It’s amazing to think you’re cut off four crew members a month ago,” Rubins said, referring to SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, which included NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins and Victor Clover and Japan’s space agency astronaut Sochi Nokuchi. “Now you bring a world-class scientific vehicle to operate.”
The cargo dragon spacecraft will be stationed in the Earth’s atmosphere and parachutes for a month before re-entering the Atlantic Ocean. This is the 21st time that SpaceX has sent cargo to the space station on one of its spacecraft – it has been doing routine missions for this purpose. Since 2012.
SpaceX will continue to keep one spacecraft in orbit until the end of next year
A picture taken from the space station on Monday (below) shows Dragon arriving at one of the two ports of the International Space Station. The image labeled with arrows above shows the cargo dragon’s nose cone near the top of the image and the crew dragon’s skate on the left.
Monday’s docking was the latest event in SpaceX’s exciting launch period.
By December 2021, SpaceX’s two types of dragon spacecraft – for crew and cargo – will be launched 13 times together since the company’s launch of its unopened test aircraft of the crew dragon in March 2019.
What’s more, if all goes according to plan, SpaceX will have spacecraft in orbit for 13 consecutive months by the end of next year.
“Every time a dragon is fired, two dragons will be in space,” Benji Reid, managing director of TeamX at SpaceX, told a news conference in October.
The company’s next astronaut, Crew-2, is scheduled to launch in March. So those astronauts will be teaming up with the Crew-1 crew until May. The following task should happen similarly with Crew-3: It is expected to launch in September 2021, so the orbit should be marked with Crew-2.
SpaceX won the race on NASA’s Commercial Crew program
SpaceX’s space travel – and Crew Dragon being the first – is a product of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which seeks private companies to compete for billions of dollars in government contracts. SpaceX and Boeing eventually won.
Boeing Expected to start The first group demonstration of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in June 2021. NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore, Michael Finke and Nicole Aunabu Mann were selected for that first flight.
But first, since an attempt failed in December 2019, Boeing must re-attempt an unprovoked demonstration mission. During that flight, Starliner successfully entered orbit, but failed to integrate with the space station. Due to software bugs NASA then investigated.
The Crew Dragon is the only ship to take the astronauts to the space station and to the United States until they complete the steps required to obtain Starliner certification.