SpaceX Dragon Successfully Docks with ISS (Gallery)

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SpaceX Dragon Capsule Docks, Delivers Payload.

After a roller coaster of a week, SpaceX triumphed last Thursday with a test of the Starhopper and the launch of the CRS-18 mission. Both ended up successful, despite setbacks mid-week. Then things got better for Elon Musk’s multi-billion-dollar space giant over the weekend. The Falcon 9 rocket — used for a historic third time on this mission — separated from the Dragon capsule, which continued on as planned and docked with the ISS. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station began unloaded the 2.5 tons of cargo, which included a new docking adapter. 

The new International Docking Adapter (IDA) will allow the Boeing Starliner and other international craft to dock with the space station, further enhancing the station’s capabilities. Additionally, the capsule carried about a ton of scientific instruments. And slime. That’s right. The Nickelodeon Slime made it into orbit. You can read more about that here. Other instruments include those necessary to grow and study plants in zero gravity.

We’ve compiled some great pictures from the CRS-18 mission:

What’s Next for Dragon?

Dragon will spend about a month docked to the International Space Station. During that time, the astronauts aboard the station will conduct a plethora of experiments. Some of those experiments have to do with non-Newtonian fluids (hence, the slime). Other experiments will deal with growing plants in space. By understanding how plant biology works in space, we can learn how to grow plants on other worlds. That will, in turn, help build things like habitats and other important resources necessary for colonization. 

After it’s month-long sojourn with the ISS, the SpaceX Dragon capsule will undock and return for a splash landing in the Pacific. Astronauts will have packed it with scientific samples and data for study here on Earth. As for the Falcon 9 rocket, well SpaceX says those can be used up to ten times without needing to be overhauled.  CRS-18 was flight number three for this particular Falcon 9. CRS-19, the next mission is scheduled for December 4th.


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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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