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SpaceX launches new cargo Dragon to Space Station for 100th successful Falcon 9 flight – TechCrunch

crs 21 liftoff

SpaceX launched its 21st Industrial Resupply Companies (CRS) mission for NASA to the Worldwide Space Station on Sunday, utilizing a model new variant of its Dragon capsule spacecraft. This new cargo Dragon has higher carrying capability and may dock absolutely autonomously with the Area Station, each enhancements over the past iteration.

That is the primary launch for this redesigned cargo Dragon, and in addition the primary mission for SpaceX’s new collection of CRS missions underneath a renewed contract with NASA. It’s carrying 6,400 lbs of each provides for the Area Station and its crew, in addition to experimental provides and equipments for the analysis being completed on the Station. This model of Dragon can carry 20% greater than the final cargo spacecraft from SpaceX, and it additionally has twice the variety of powered lockers for local weather managed transportation of experimental materials.

The brand new cargo Dragon is a modified model of the Crew Dragon that delivered astronauts to the ISS throughout Might’s Demo-2 mission, and during last month’s Crew-1 flight. Its modifications embody removing of the Tremendous Draco engines which are geared up on the crew model, which give propulsion to hold the capsule shortly away from the Falcon 9 in case of the necessity for an early abort to guard the astronauts on board. It will also be reused as much as 5 occasions, vs. simply three for the final cargo model.

This launch was SpaceX’s 100th profitable Falcon 9 take-off, and the corporate has flown 43 of these on recovered and refurbished boosters. In the present day’s mission additionally included a restoration of the Falcon 9 first stage, which has now flown 4 occasions in complete. This marks the 68th profitable booster touchdown for SpaceX to date.

Subsequent up for CRS-21 is a rendezvous between the cargo Dragon and the ISS, which is st to happen Monday night. The capsule will autonomous dock with one of many Station’s new worldwide docking adapters, that are designed particularly to make this automated docking process doable. It’ll be the second Dragon docked on the station when it arrives, since SpaceX’s Crew Dragon remains to be there from final month’s crew mission.

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Darrell Etherington