Today (May 18, 2014) starting at 9am EDT NASA TV will air the departure of SpaceX’s famous Dragon capsule from the International Space Station (ISS). The Dragon delivered precious cargo to the ISS, and it will be returning to Earth with about 3,500 pounds of valuable cargo as well.
According to SpaceX.com…
“Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations. Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and safely return cargo to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by governments. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth. Currently Dragon carries cargo to space, but it was designed from the beginning to carry humans. Under an agreement with NASA, SpaceX is now developing the refinements that will enable Dragon to fly crew. Dragon’s first manned test flight is expected to take place in 2-3 years.”
Dragon is a sophisticated craft that has provided NASA with valuable cargo transportation up to this point. Dragon is not only a method of transportation but is also a laboratory that can do research on its own, independent from the ISS.
Below are some pictures of the Dragon capsule and Dragon launch:
Dragon’s current mission is strictly cargo transportation. But SpaceX is hopeful that in the future Dragon will be successful in developing capabilities to transport humans to and from space as well.
Dragon has been docked onto the ISS for about 30 days now. According to Space.com the…
“Undocking is scheduled to occur at about 9:25 a.m. EDT (1325 GMT), with spalshdown in the Pacific Ocean expected at about 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT). The NASA TV webcast begins at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT). “