SpaceX has successfully launched its latest mission to the International Space Station using the Dragon Capsule. The capsule is scheduled to arrive at the station tomorrow at about 1.30 PM ET. Originally, the company plans to launch the cargo batch along with its supply to the station. However, different from the previous launching, it decides to use a different spacecraft. SpaceX prefers using the newest version of the Dragon Capsule, known as the Dragon Capsule 2.
The use of the Dragon Capsule 2 is for some reasons. It is the upgraded version of the first one. Therefore, the spacecraft is considered more capable to load goods to outer space. As information, the Dragon Capsule 2 is the same type of spacecraft used to send astronauts to the space station.
SpaceX’s Contribution to the Space Station Since 2012
The launch of the Dragon Capsule 2 is not the only contribution done by SpaceX in the area of astronomy. The company has supplied the station even since 2021 with a total of 20 missions. In those 20 missions, Elon Musk’s company used the original version of the Dragon Cargo Capsule. In order to load more stuff as well as people, the second version is developed. This version was previously called the Crew Dragon but later it sounds more comfortable to call it the Dragon Capsule 2.
The Dragon Capsule 2 by SpaceX brought its first crew in May. With the success of the Dragon Capsule 2, the company then decided to stop using its previous Dragon version as well as the new one is improved in terms of performance so that it can carry crew and cargo more safely and efficiently.
Some Improvements on the Dragon Capsule 2
Compared with the previous version of the Dragon Capsule, the Dragon Capsule 2 has some improvements. Based on the statements from SpaceX’s representative, the newest cargo can load more stuff up to 50%. Meanwhile, it can also be more easily anchored to the space station while the crew can use the robotic arms to manage the capsule and replace it to the port. Additionally, the Dragon Capsule 2 can work more automatically and it doesn’t need extra help from humans to dock.
Purposes of the Mission
SpaceX has some purposes to launch the new spacecraft to the space station. Those purposes are considered important as the company is willing to spend many budgets for the mission. The main purpose is to add supplies to the station for astronauts.
Besides, the spacecraft also brings some experiments to the ISS including the experiment of Bioasteroid developed by the European Space Agency. Bioasteroid is an experiment to test Biomining, a process that uses microorganisms to extract rock elements. It is in line with the statement of the Bioasteroid researcher, Charles Cockell. He said that his team wants to see whether the microbe can get elements from the interior and surface of the asteroid. Sure, it means that the research is indeed better to do in outer space.
Interestingly, the mission is also related to the Covid 19 pandemic that currently attacks the earth. The first medication of the virus is tested for the first time in outer space. It is to try to improve the efficiency of Remdesivir antivirus.
Not the Only Dragon in ISS
It is known that SpaceX has launched other spacecrafts in the past. However, most of them are back home and no longer docked in the station. Meanwhile, there is still another Dragon Capsule that is in space. It is the spacecraft that was launched on November 15 with 4 crews. With the presence of the Dragon Capsule 2 in ISS, it means that there are 2 dragons anchored there. Based on the statement of Sarah Walker, the managing director of Dragon Missions of SpaceX, it is great since for the first time, there are two dragons in the space station. Soon, there will be more dragons to join them.
The Dragon Capsule 2 mission was rescheduled before for the weather problem. After some considerations, it is launched at 11:17 ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. To make it work, SpaceX utilizes one of the rockets from Falcon 9. The rocket is second hand but it is guaranteed to work optimally. Yes, the rocket to use is the same rocket that launches the first crews from the company in May.
Furthermore, after the launch of the Dragon Capsule 2, there is a plan that Falcon 9 will try to land on one of the drone ships of the company. The ship will be placed in the Atlantic Ocean.