SpaceX to Send its Dragon for First "Official" ISS Supply Run Oct. 7
September 21, 2012 1:26 PM
comment(s) - last by
SpaceX's Dragon at the ISS
Dragon is expected to return near the end of October
SpaceX is about to take another historical step for the private sector: its Dragon capsule will carry a load of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) on its first official mission.
SpaceX's Dragon made its first trip to the ISS back in May of this year as a test run.
All went well
, with the Dragon successfully docking at the ISS and then splashing down into the Pacific Ocean.
Thanks to that successful run, SpaceX can now move forward with its very first official mission. The Dragon capsule will carry 1,000 pounds of supplies to the ISS on October 7, and plans to reach the orbiting station on October 10.
Dragon will then spend a few weeks connected to the ISS while astronauts unload the supplies. They will then reload the Dragon with another 734 pounds of scientific supplies and 504 pounds of space station hardware to return to Earth. The plan is to send Dragon home near the end of October.
SpaceX currently has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 unmanned flights to the ISS.
NASA retired its remaining three shuttles
in its space shuttle fleet: Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis. By July 2011, all three had completed their final missions and ended an era of American space flight to the ISS. American astronauts were then forced to depend on the Russian Soyuz rockets to take supplies to the ISS, but increasing costs for a seat on these rockets pushed the U.S. to find another route.
NASA looked to the private sector to fill its shoes, and SpaceX was a superb candidate with its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX showed the world what the private space sector was made of in May 2012 when the
Dragon made a successful maiden flight
to the ISS.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: $1.6B for 12 trips
9/24/2012 10:55:09 AM
These are unmanned flights. You need to know the cost of a Progress unmanned flight, as well as it's upload and download mass to compare them correctly.
Progress only lifts 2600KG and can only return a paltry 150KG back to earth safely.
Dragon lifts 6000KG and can return 3000KG.
Hmmm, I found some cost estimates from a Nasawatch article-
"SpaceX was awarded $1.6 billion to deliver 20 metric tons on 12 cargo resupply missions."
That would be $80M per metric ton.
"Approximate cost per pound to ISS
Space Shuttle* - $21,268
Russian Progress - $18,149"
And that would be just about $40M per ton from the Progress.
Soyuz is cheaper, but has some limitations in how much it can move in a single flight. Dragon will return about twice as much equipment as a Progress can in it's first cargo flight alone.
One reason the cost is higher is that the first contact (CRS) from NASA has extra money in it to help pay for the development of hardware and procedures for ISS operations of the Dragon.
Future contacts won't need that overhead and would be more cost efficient for that reason alone.
I'd also note that NASA is not making full use of Dragon's cargo capacity at this time. 12 Dragon flights could lift 72 metric tons, but they've chosen to utilize just 20 metric tons. You usually pay for a launch, and try to get as much onto it as possible. They could easily double the amount of cargo and bring that price down to the level of the Russian craft.
As the manned variant of the Dragon is still in development, I'm not sure what the costs for a manned flight will look like.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
SpaceX's Dragon Reaches Pacific Ocean, Ends Successful ISS Journey
May 31, 2012, 7:33 PM
SpaceX's Dragon Capsule Reaches ISS, Station Captures Footage of Arrival
May 25, 2012, 3:30 PM
Quick Note: NASA's Remaining Space Shuttles Stripped, Prepared for Final Resting Places
March 29, 2012, 2:45 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Why the U.S. Won't be Able to Ban Google's New Huawei Marshmallow Flagship Phone
October 3, 2015, 5:27 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Apple Watch Commands 2 in 3 Smart Watch Sales, WatchOS 2 Sweetens the Pitch
September 20, 2015, 6:07 PM
Tag Heuer Admits Its $1,800 Smartwatch Was Inspired By Apple -- Price-Wise
September 30, 2015, 6:32 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information