SpaceX on 18 July 2016 launched its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station, carrying a key piece of equipment that was lost in 2015 due to rocket explosion. The launch to the ISS is a resupply mission for NASA.
Dragon spaceship was packed with nearly 23000 kilograms of gear, including science experiments and equipment for the astronauts living in space.
After blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the rocket separated after sending the cargo to orbit. Then the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket landed back on the solid ground in Cape Canaveral at the NASA facility.
As per the plan, the Dragon is expected to arrive at the space station early 20 July 2016.
With this, SpaceX now has five successful rocket landings to its name. The first occurred in December 2015, when a Falcon 9 first stage came back to Cape Canaveral during a commercial satellite launch. The other three successful launches happened in April (one) and May (two), these launches were featured with sea landings, on a robotic ship named Of Course I Still Love You.
• Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft developed by SpaceX, an American private space transportation company based in Hawthorne, California.
• It is launched into space by the SpaceX Falcon 9 two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle, and SpaceX is developing a crewed version called the Dragon 2.
• The spacecraft is designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations.
• Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and safely return cargo to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by governments.
• It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth.
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When: 18 July 2016