The latest news reports indicate that the Spacex “Dragon” capsule arrived at the ISS space station in excellent condition, and is being successfully unloaded of about a half a ton of supplies. It’s due to come home Thursday with a similar-sized load shipped home from the space station.
This feat makes the history books as the first successful demonstration of commercial cargo supply capability for the ISS, or any another space station that might appear up there soon. If all goes well for the landing, the test flights are over, and Spacex is in business hauling cargo for NASA.
Kudos to Spacex on having both the art and science of spaceflight under their belts. This commercial cargo capability is going to transform spaceflight forever. “Steely-eyed missile men”, indeed!
Further, this is a reusable capsule design. Once routine flights begin, I believe we will see the same capsules flown again and again to the ISS, carrying cargo. That will be another first for the history books.
“Dragon” was always intended to carry people, up to seven, the same size as a shuttle crew. All it and its Falcon-9 booster rocket need in order to be “man-rated”, is an escape system and a history of successful unmanned flight.
The cargo flights to the ISS will provide that history. The thrusters big enough for escape purposes are being tested now. Get set for another first for the history books, when “Dragon” flies manned.
There will be more history-making feats by Spacex in the future, I predict. They are “doing it right”.
My heartfelt congratulations, once again.