The Dragon 2 Capsule
This vehicle is a redesign of the Crew Dragon with which the company SpaceX has already taken two astronauts to the International Space Station without mishaps. With these new changes, the capsule now has a greater cargo capacity. They say it can carry 20 percent more volume and 50 percent more weight.
Dragon 2 is the first capsule capable of connecting to the International Space Station automatically. This version does not need any human assistance to fit. Besides, it can make up to five trips and can stay at the station twice as long as the previous spacecraft.
The launch of Dragon 2
After being reprogrammed for weather precautions, the launch finally took place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this December 6 at 11:17 AM ET.
The company used Falcon 9 for the mission, a rocket that has flown three times before. It is the same one where the astronauts traveled in May of this year. Dragon 2 should be joining the International Space Station on the afternoon of December 7.
The vehicle carries around 6,553 pounds of equipment and supplies for scientific research to the crewmembers of the station. The SpaceX CRS-21 mission has to transport, specifically, science investigations, vehicle hardware, spacewalk equipment, computer resources, Russian hardware, and an external payload.
This flight was the first after the renewal of SpaceX’s contract with NASA to collaborate in its Commercial Resupply Services missions. The main business between these two organizations.
This collaboration is good news for the expansion plans of both NASA and Elon Musk’s company. Everything indicates that commercial space flights and the colonization of Mars are almost a reality.