SpaceX Dragon Capsule and Falcon 9 Rocket
SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft
The first commercial vehicle to berth with the International Space Station
Developed by SpaceX in partnership with NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, the Dragon capsule is capable of carrying both pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station. At the end of each mission, the spacecraft can return pressurized cargo back to Earth.
With the successful completion in May 2012 of the COTS 2+ demo flight, SpaceX was ready to start regular resupply flights to the International Space Station. Several Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions will be flown by SpaceX each year. Each mission will use a Dragon capsule launched on a Falcon 9 rocket.
Since its founding by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX has collected an impressive list of space firsts. Their Falcon 1 rocket was the first privately developed liquid fueled rocket to deliver a payload to orbit. The first flight of the Dragon capsule, launched on a Falcon 9 rocket in December 2010, became the first privately developed spacecraft to return safely to Earth from orbit. In May 2012, the second Dragon flight became the first commercial vehicle to berth with the International Space Station.
SpaceX developed both the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft. They are working toward developing rapidly reusable versions of each. A crewed version of the Dragon, capable of transporting up to seven astronauts, is in development. The Falcon Heavy rocket, also in development, will have over twice the lifting power of the largest rockets currently in use.
NOTE: CCAFS SLC-40 = Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Space Launch Complex 40.
For more information about Dragon and Falcon 9, visit the SpaceX website.