SpaceX has been delivering cargo to and from the International Space Station since 2012, and in 2020 SpaceX will begin transporting people to the orbiting laboratory under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 6,000 kgs/13,228 lbs of cargo to the station and returning 3,000 kgs/6,614 lbs of cargo back to Earth. To date Dragon has made over 20 trips to the orbiting laboratory and will soon begin flying crew.
The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit and beyond. The pressurized section of the capsule is designed to carry both people and environmentally sensitive cargo. Toward the base of the capsule and contained within the nosecone are the Draco thrusters, which allow for orbital maneuvering.
The infographic outlines a typical approach to the space station. The Dragon spacecraft executes a series of burns that position the vehicle progressively closer to the space station before executing final docking maneuvers.
The infographic below outlines a typical approach to the space station. The Dragon spacecraft executes a series of burns that position the vehicle progressively closer to the space station before executing final docking maneuvers.
Falcon 9’s first stage lofts Dragon to orbit. Falcon 9’s first and second stage separate. Second stage accelerates Dragon to orbital velocity.
Dragon separates from Falcon 9’s second stage and performs initial orbit activation and checkouts of propulsion, life support, and thermal control systems.
Dragon performs delta-velocity orbit raising maneuvers to catch up with the International space station.
Dragon establishes a communication link with the space station and performs its final orbit raising delta-velocity burn.
Dragon establishes relative navigation to the space station and arrives along the docking axis, initiating an autonomous approach.
Dragon performs final approach and docks with the space station, followed by pressurization, hatch open, and crew ingress.
Designed in-house by SpaceX, each custom-tailored suit can provide a pressurized environment for all crew members aboard Dragon in atypical situations.
This suit also routes communications and cooling systems to the astronauts aboard Dragon during regular flight. Key features include:
|3D printed spacesuit helmet|
|Touchscreen compatible gloves|
|Flame resistant outer layer|
|Hearing protection during ascent and reentry|