Print 25 comment(s) - last by voronwe.. on Jun 7 at 11:03 PM

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule in the Pacific Ocean   (Source: Michael Altenhofen)
SpaceX will now look forward to hearing from NASA about 12 additional missions to the ISS

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule has successfully completed its first trip to the International Space Station (ISS) with a splash in the Pacific Ocean.

"Welcome home, baby," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO. "It's like seeing your kid come home."

SpaceX is now the first private rocket company to send a spacecraft to the ISS since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year, leaving U.S. astronauts to depend on Russia when it came to space transportation.

After the space shuttle fleet's retirement, SpaceX stepped in with its Dragon cargo capsule and Falcon 9 rocket to lift supplies to the ISS. After a few delays throughout the first few months of this year, the Dragon made its way to the ISS at 3:44 a.m. on May 22. It launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida along with the Falcon 9 rocket with intentions of delivering supplies to the ISS. 

On May 25, the Dragon finally made it to the ISS after passing a series of tests. The Dragon attached to the ISS at 12:02 p.m. that day.

From there, the Dragon delivered 674 pounds of food, clothing and other supplies as well as 271 pounds of cargo bags, 46 pounds of science experiments, and 22 pounds of computer equipment to the ISS.

Today, the Dragon made its way home after detaching from the ISS' robotic arm at 2:29 a.m. PDT. Five hours later, the Dragon used its thrusters to begin slowing down while at 240 miles above the Indian Ocean. At 7:51 a.m. PDT, SpaceX engineers confirmed the beginning of the deorbit burn.

The Dragon then slowly fell out of orbit due to the change in velocity from the burn. It finally splashed down into the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles off the coast of Baja California at 8:42 a.m. PDT. The capsule was recovered by boats and brought to the port of Los Angeles.

From launch to the splashdown, SpaceX's Dragon mission lasted 9 days, 7 hours and 58 minutes.

With the Dragon mission being a success, SpaceX will now look forward to hearing from NASA about 12 additional missions to the ISS. While these missions will be unmanned and sent for the purpose of re-supplying the ISS, SpaceX is currently working on a manned version for carrying astronauts.

This isn't SpaceX's only win of the week. Just yesterday, it was announced that SpaceX and satellite service provider Intelsat reached a commercial agreement for the launch of a Heavy Falcon rocket. The Heavy Falcon is a powerful rocket that represents SpaceX's entry into the heavy lift launch vehicle arena. The Falcon Heavy rocket can carry satellites and other spacecraft weighing over 53 metric tons to Low Earth Orbit.

Source: SlashGear

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By WalksTheWalk on 6/1/2012 9:41:57 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't find any numbers for how much NASA is saving by using SpaceX over their previous methods such as the Space Shuttle. I've read articles that say SpaceX is 1/3 the cost of NASA's internal teams for the same heavy lift rockets.

Does anyone have any more info?

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By retrospooty on 6/1/2012 11:34:22 AM , Rating: 2
I dont have the numbers handy either, but I do recall reading the reasons behind ending the shuttle program were becasue it was not meeting its goals. It was designed to be a cheaper and safer method of getting people and cargo into space and it wound up being way more expensive and as far as safety, well, 2 whole crews were lost so there really wasnt a viable reason to continue throwing money out for an unsafe method.

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By ameriman on 6/1/2012 12:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
Nasa promised a gullible Congress/America the shuttle would be 'clean, safe, reliable' and cost $7 million per flight..

Nasa's shuttle cost $1.5 billion/flight, killed 2 crew, and had several multi-year service outages..

Nasa's shuttle was by far the most expensive, dangerous and unreliable space vehicle in history..
The Shuttle program cost over $200 billion for 135 flights.. over $1.5 billion/flight.

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By WalksTheWalk on 6/1/2012 1:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
I also view NASA as a bid government entity that has a lot of bloat and associated costs, sort of quasi-military, and we all know how much the military likes to spend vast sums of money. I wonder what a consortium of private entities would have produced for the same NASA dollars given contracts for the same missions as NASA.

The one takeaway I have from NASA as a large government organization is at least they have a mission to push their technology developments back to the public.

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By fic2 on 6/1/2012 6:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think that would totally depend on which private entities were doing it. If it was the usual suspects (typical military/gov't private entities that we can all name) the cost would somehow end up being the same or more. If it was made up of the new boys on the block then it would be substantially less. But congress would never let the "old boys" not share in the largess and would make it rain like a newly signed rookie quarterback at the local strip club. So, while the old boy network is being paid to not really do anything the upstarts would actually put a crew on Mars.

By retrospooty on 6/1/2012 1:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that was more bloated than I thought. I am surpised they ended it. Usually govt. bloat spending continues indefinitely. I am sure if 2 crews werent killed it would have.

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By Chemical Chris on 6/3/2012 11:27:20 AM , Rating: 2
I would rather have 5 shuttle programs than 1 bank bailout (could get an additional 35 shuttle programs if you count the Fed giving the banks $7 trillion in 0 interest loans, which they did sneakily at the same time).

Not saying awesome science stuff is cheap, but compared to what money is being spent on, it isn't so bad.

By ameriman on 6/5/2012 11:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't you rather the last 40 years of US space included lunar colonies, Americans on Mars, visits to Asteroids, 'cheap, safe, reliable access to space' for Americans?

We could have had all that, for a small part the $500 billion Nasa blew on manned space in the past 4 decades... with private enterprise innovation, efficiency, spirit...
rather than big govt Nasa pork/waste.

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By hduser on 6/1/2012 11:40:09 AM , Rating: 2
The money savings is obvious since there is no human on board. Getting things man-rated quadruples the cost. The only thing is not clear is whether the Falcon 9 first stage will be recovered and refurbished as it is advertised. The other test launch, the first stage belly flopped and disintegrated in the ocean.

By geddarkstorm on 6/1/2012 1:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
Makes me wonder what happened to the first stage of this launch, if you have any info?

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By ameriman on 6/1/2012 12:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
The entire 12 COTS resupply flights cost about what ONE SINGLE Shuttle supply flight cost ($1.5 billion)...
The SpaceX vehicles are far more advanced and cost efficient than anything NASA is capable of.
And the new SpaceX Falcon Heavy will cost only $100 million yet launch TWICE the shuttle payload to orbit..

BTW...SLS/Orion is more unneeded, shameless earmarked Congressional pork, targeted to big space shuttle legacy profiteers.
from a Fed Govt already bankrupting us with $16 trillion of debt...

We should be using the advanced, economical SpaceX boosters, dragon and on-orbit assembly/fueling for deep space missions...

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By geddarkstorm on 6/1/2012 1:45:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's fantastic we have this for 1/10th the cost. But dragon doesn't lift quite as much supplies as a Shuttle. Be interesting to see the exact cost per kg cargo between the two.

With that said, the real comparison for SpaceX would be between its costs and the ULA.

RE: How Much Money is NASA Saving?
By FPP on 6/1/2012 9:41:23 PM , Rating: 3
That's a good question and remember that it's only Spacex who's offered up flat rate launch price of $142 million. (payload extra)The ULA, essentially a monopoly, does not quote open prices for a launch. In addition, the ULA does not have a rocket they can "pre-fire" and/or "hold-on-fire for integrity check" like Spacex. Musk was smart: he studied launches and concluded it's reliablity, not cost, that will sell launches. He's one of the big boys now.

By ameriman on 6/5/2012 11:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
The entire 12 flight SpaceX CRS resupply contract costs about what ONE SINGLE Shuttle supply flight cost ($1.5 billion)...

The SpaceX vehicles are far more advanced and cost efficient than anything NASA is capable of.

And the new SpaceX Falcon Heavy will cost only $100 million yet launch TWICE the shuttle payload to orbit..

By ct760ster on 5/31/2012 11:51:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's only me or does the picture posted with the article, could possibly, show some damage to the hull of the capsule, kind of like an inverted 'V' shape, also the burnout seems that consumed almost all of the thermal protecting coating that was painted on the capsule.

RE: Charred?
By SilentRunning on 6/1/2012 1:08:00 AM , Rating: 2
The "charring" looks to be cosmetic, but there is all kinds of damage on the left hand side of the capsule. Seam separation, the diagonal crack and a nice big chunk missing near the top.

RE: Charred?
By mcnabney on 6/1/2012 9:40:38 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying that it looks like the capsule was hit by a laser beam due to the damage and linear slice into the metal, but I'm having a hard time imagining what did that.

RE: Charred?
By nafhan on 6/1/2012 10:54:16 AM , Rating: 2
I looked this up because I thought the same thing. It's apparently related to the parachute deployment system, and "the crack" is visible in some of the photos that they took from the space station. So... not a problem. I think there is a picture that shows it here (flickr stream for ESA astronaut's who's currently on the ISS and took a bunch of pics):
Can't get to it right now, though. So, I may have seen the pic somewhere else. Still, that link is worth checking out just for some really nice pictures of the Dragon mission.

RE: Charred?
By geddarkstorm on 6/1/2012 1:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
You're absolutely right. The picture that shows this protruding seam in the spacecraft as seen from the ISS is here

You can see that is it NOT a crack, it is actually a raised element out of the hull. Creates a nice optical illusion though.

RE: Charred?
By geddarkstorm on 6/1/2012 1:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
Thankfully, as below, we've found photos that show this is not damage and not a crack. It's an optical illusion. That's actually a long raised part of the normal hull. Again, check

The capsule also had equipment on it being returned from the ISS. So that material being intact proves the integrity of the vessel. NASA would never agree otherwise. And besides, if the ship cracked on re-entry, it would have been destroyed.

RE: Charred?
By ameriman on 6/1/2012 1:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
That is NOT a crack in the side. Those grooves are just used to house the parachute lines, which are pulled away at deployment.

Iron man
By superPC on 5/31/2012 9:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
I knew it's going to perform well. tony stark says so himself

RE: Iron man
By geddarkstorm on 6/1/2012 1:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't even realize that was him, awesome cameo. I really want to know more about this electric jet idea of his.

By Cheesew1z69 on 5/31/2012 8:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Awesome stuff!

By voronwe on 6/7/2012 11:03:26 PM , Rating: 2

Okay, SpaceX will soon start cargo resupply to the ISS. That much is true.

But there have been several other vehicles doing it. There just haven't been any from the United States since Shuttle retired.

And SpaceX is the ONLY private space company ever to berth with anything in orbit. Ever. In other words, not the first private space company since NASA...'s horrible!

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

Most Popular ArticlesSmartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
UN Meeting to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
September 21, 2016, 9:52 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Update: Problem-Free Galaxy Note7s CPSC Approved
September 22, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki