|Country of origin||United States|
|Dry mass||4,201 kg (9,262 lb)|
|Payload capacity||to ISS 6,000 kg (13,000 lb), which can be all pressurized, all unpressurized or anywhere between. It can return to Earth 3,500 kg (7,700 lb), which can be all unpressurized disposal mass or up to 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) of return pressurized cargo|
|Volume||10 m3 (350 cu ft) pressurized|
14 m3 (490 cu ft) unpressurized
34 m3 (1,200 cu ft) unpressurized with extended trunk
|Length||6.1 metres (20 ft)|
|Diameter||3.7 metres (12 ft)|
|Maiden launch||8 December 2010|
(first orbital flight)
22 May 2012
(first cargo delivery to ISS)
|Last launch||7 March 2020|
|Fuel||NTO / MMH|
|Written in||C++ |
|Operating system||Linux |
|Platform||x86 (judge) |
|Included with||Dragon spacecraft|
|Size||around 100K source lines |
|Type||Application-specific system software|
|License||closed source, internal use|
|Part of a series on|
|Contracts and programs|
The SpaceX Dragon, also known as Dragon 1 or Cargo Dragon, was a class of reusable cargo spacecraft developed by SpaceX, an American private space transportation company. Dragon was launched into orbit by the company's Falcon 9 launch vehicle to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). It is now superseded by SpaceX Dragon 2.
During its maiden flight in December 2010, Dragon became the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to be recovered successfully from orbit. On 25 May 2012, a cargo variant of Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with and attach to the ISS. SpaceX is contracted to deliver cargo to the ISS under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services program, and Dragon began regular cargo flights in October 2012. With the Dragon spacecraft and the Orbital ATK Cygnus, NASA seeks to increase its partnerships with domestic commercial aviation and aeronautics industry.
On 3 June 2017, the CRS-11 capsule, largely assembled from previously flown components from the CRS-4 mission in September 2014, was launched again for the first time, with the hull, structural elements, thrusters, harnesses, propellant tanks, plumbing and many of the avionics reused, while the heat shield, batteries and components exposed to sea water upon splashdown for recovery were replaced.
SpaceX developed a second version called SpaceX Dragon 2, which includes the capability to transport people. Flight testing was completed in 2019, after a delay caused by a test pad anomaly in April 2019, which resulted in the loss of a Dragon 2 capsule. The first flight of astronauts on the Dragon 2, on a mission contracted to NASA, occurred in 2020.
The last flight of the first version of the Dragon spacecraft (Dragon 1) launched 7 March 2020 (UTC); it was a cargo resupply mission (CRS-20) to ISS. This mission was the last mission of SpaceX of the first Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-1) program. Future SpaceX commercial resupply flights to ISS under the second Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) program will use the SpaceX Dragon 2 version.
SpaceX's CEO, Elon Musk, named the spacecraft after the 1963 song "Puff, the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul and Mary, reportedly as a response to critics who considered his spaceflight projects impossible.
SpaceX began developing the Dragon spacecraft in late 2004, making a public announcement in 2006 with a plan of entering service in 2009. Also in 2006, SpaceX won a contract to use the Dragon spacecraft for commercial resupply services to the International Space Station for the American federal space agency, NASA.
NASA ISS resupply contract
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
In 2005, NASA solicited proposals for a commercial ISS resupply cargo vehicle to replace the then-soon-to-be-retired Space Shuttle, through its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) development program. The Dragon spacecraft was a part of SpaceX's proposal, submitted to NASA in March 2006. SpaceX's COTS proposal was issued as part of a team, which also included MD Robotics, the Canadian company that had built the ISS's Canadarm2.
On 18 August 2006, NASA announced that SpaceX had been chosen, along with Kistler Aerospace, to develop cargo launch services for the ISS. The initial plan called for three demonstration flights of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to be conducted between 2008 and 2010. SpaceX and Kistler were to receive up to $278 million and $207 million respectively, if they met all NASA milestones, but Kistler failed to meet its obligations, and its contract was terminated in 2007. NASA later re-awarded Kistler's contract to Orbital Sciences.
Commercial Resupply Services Phase 1
On 23 December 2008, NASA awarded a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract to SpaceX, with contract options that could potentially increase the maximum contract value to $3.1 billion. The contract called for 12 flights, with an overall minimum of 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) of cargo to be carried to the ISS.
On 23 February 2009, SpaceX announced that its chosen phenolic-impregnated carbon ablator heat shield material, PICA-X, had passed heat stress tests in preparation for Dragon's maiden launch. The primary proximity-operations sensor for the Dragon spacecraft, the DragonEye, was tested in early 2009 during the STS-127 mission, when it was mounted near the docking port of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and used while the Shuttle approached the International Space Station. The DragonEye's lidar and thermography (thermal imaging) abilities were both tested successfully. The COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) and Crew Command Panel (CCP) were delivered to the ISS during the late 2009 STS-129 mission. The CUCU allows the ISS to communicate with Dragon and the CCP allows ISS crew members to issue basic commands to Dragon. In summer 2009, SpaceX hired former NASA astronaut Ken Bowersox as vice president of their new Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance Department, in preparation for crews using the spacecraft.
As a condition of the NASA CRS contract, SpaceX analyzed the orbital radiation environment on all Dragon systems, and how the spacecraft would respond to spurious radiation events. That analysis and the Dragon design – which uses an overall fault-tolerant triple-redundant computer architecture, rather than individual radiation hardening of each computer processor – was reviewed by independent experts before being approved by NASA for the cargo flights.
During March 2015, it was announced that SpaceX had been awarded an additional three missions under Commercial Resupply Services Phase 1. These additional missions are SpaceX CRS-13, SpaceX CRS-14 and SpaceX CRS-15 and would cover the cargo needs of 2017.
On 24 February 2016, SpaceNews disclosed that SpaceX had been awarded a further five missions under Commercial Resupply Services Phase 1. This additional tranche of missions had SpaceX CRS-16 and SpaceX CRS-17 manifested for FY2017 while SpaceX CRS-18, SpaceX CRS-19 and SpaceX CRS-20 and were notionally manifested for FY2018.
Commercial Resupply Services Phase 2
The Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract definition and solicitation period commenced in 2014. In January 2016, NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX, Orbital ATK, and Sierra Nevada Corporation for a minimum of six launches each, with missions planned until at least 2024. The maximum potential value of all the contracts was announced as $14 billion, but the minimum requirements would be considerably less. No further financial information was disclosed.
CRS-2 launches began in late 2019.
The first flight of the Falcon 9, a private flight, occurred in June 2010 and launched a stripped-down version of the Dragon capsule. This Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit had initially been used as a ground test bed to validate several of the capsule's systems. During the flight, the unit's primary mission was to relay aerodynamic data captured during the ascent. It was not designed to survive re-entry, and did not.
NASA contracted for three test flights from SpaceX, but later reduced that number to two. The first Dragon spacecraft launched on its first mission – contracted to NASA as COTS Demo Flight 1 – on 8 December 2010, and was successfully recovered following re-entry to Earth's atmosphere. The mission also marked the second flight of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The DragonEye sensor flew again on STS-133 in February 2011 for further on-orbit testing. In November 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued a re-entry license for the Dragon capsule, the first such license ever awarded to a commercial vehicle.
The second Dragon flight, also contracted to NASA as a demonstration mission, launched successfully on 22 May 2012, after NASA had approved SpaceX's proposal to combine the COTS 2 and 3 mission objectives into a single Falcon 9/Dragon flight, renamed COTS 2+. Dragon conducted orbital tests of its navigation systems and abort procedures, before being grappled by the ISS' Canadarm2 and successfully berthing with the station on 25 May to offload its cargo. Dragon returned to Earth on 31 May 2012, landing as scheduled in the Pacific Ocean, and was again successfully recovered.
On 23 August 2012, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced that SpaceX had completed all required milestones under the COTS contract, and was cleared to begin operational resupply missions to the ISS.
Returning research materials from orbit
Dragon spacecrafts can return to Earth 3,500 kg (7,700 lb), which can be all unpressurized disposal mass or up to 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) of return pressurized cargo from the ISS, and is the only current spacecraft capable of returning to Earth with a significant amount of cargo. Other than the Russian Soyuz crew capsule, Dragon is the only currently operating spacecraft designed to survive re-entry. Because Dragon allows for the return of critical materials to researchers in as little as 48 hours from splashdown, it opens the possibility of new experiments on ISS that can produce materials for later analysis on ground using more sophisticated instrumentation. For example, CRS-12 returned mice that have spent time in orbit which will help give insight into how microgravity impacts blood vessels in both the brain and eyes, and in determining how arthritis develops.
Dragon was launched on its first operational CRS flight on 8 October 2012, and completed the mission successfully on 28 October. NASA initially contracted SpaceX for 12 operational missions, and later extended the CRS contract with 8 more flights, bringing the total to 20 launches until 2019. In 2016, a new batch of 6 missions under the CRS2 contract was assigned to SpaceX; those missions are scheduled to be launched between 2020 and 2024.
Reuse of previously-flown capsules
SpaceX CRS-11, SpaceX's eleventh CRS mission, was successfully launched on 3 June 2017 from Kennedy Space Center LC-39A, being the 100th mission to be launched from that pad. This mission was the first to re-fly a recovered Dragon capsule that previously flew on CRS-4 mission. This mission delivered 2,708 kilograms of cargo to the International Space Station, including NICER. The first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle landed successfully at Landing Zone 1. This mission launched for the first time a refurbished Dragon capsule, serial number C106, which had flown in September 2014 on the CRS-4 mission, and was the first time since 2011 a reused spacecraft arrived at the ISS. Gemini SC-2 capsule is the only other reused capsule, but it was only reflown suborbitally in 1966.
SpaceX CRS-12, SpaceX's twelfth CRS mission, was successfully launched on the first 'Block 4' version of the Falcon 9 on 14 August 2017 from Kennedy Space Center LC-39A at the first attempt. This mission delivered 2,349 kg (5,179 lb) of pressurized mass and 961 kg (2,119 lb) unpressurized. The external payload manifested for this flight was the CREAM cosmic-ray detector. Last flight of a newly built Dragon capsule; further missions will use refurbished spacecraft.
SpaceX CRS-13, SpaceX's thirteenth CRS mission, was the second use of a previously-flown Dragon capsule, but the first time in concordance with a reused first-stage booster. It was successfully launched on 15 December 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 at the first attempt. This was the first launch from SLC-40 since the Amos-6 pad anomaly. The booster was the previously-flown core from the CRS-11 mission. This mission delivered 1,560 kg (3,439 lb) of pressurized mass and 645 kg (1,422 lb) unpressurized. It returned from orbit and splashed down on 13 January 2018, making it the first space capsule to be reflown to orbit more than once.
SpaceX CRS-14, SpaceX's fourteenth CRS mission, was the third reuse of a previously-flown Dragon capsule. It was successfully launched on 2 April 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40. It successfully docked with the ISS on 4 April 2018 and remained docked for a month before returning cargo and science experiments back to earth.
Crewed development program
In 2006, Elon Musk stated that SpaceX had built "a prototype flight crew capsule, including a thoroughly tested 30-man-day life-support system". A video simulation of the launch escape system's operation was released in January 2011. Musk stated in 2010 that the developmental cost of a crewed Dragon and Falcon 9 would be between $800 million and $1 billion. In 2009 and 2010, Musk suggested on several occasions that plans for a crewed variant of the Dragon were proceeding and had a two-to-three-year timeline to completion. SpaceX submitted a bid for the third phase of CCDev, CCiCap.
In 2014, SpaceX released the total combined development costs for both the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon capsule. NASA provided US$396 million while SpaceX provided over US$450 million to fund both development efforts.
In December 2010, the SpaceX production line was reported to be manufacturing one new Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket every three months. Elon Musk stated in a 2010 interview that he planned to increase production turnover to one Dragon every six weeks by 2012. Composite materials are extensively used in the spacecraft's manufacture to reduce weight and improve structural strength.
By September 2013, SpaceX total manufacturing space had increased to nearly 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) and the factory had six Dragons in various stages of production. SpaceX published a photograph showing the six, including the next four NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission Dragons (CRS-3, CRS-4, CRS-5, CRS-6) plus the drop-test Dragon, and the pad-abort Dragon weldment for commercial crew.
The Dragon spacecraft consists of a nose-cone cap, a conventional blunt-cone ballistic capsule, and an unpressurized cargo-carrier trunk equipped with two solar arrays. The capsule uses a PICA-X heat shield, based on a proprietary variant of NASA's Phenolic impregnated carbon ablator (PICA) material, designed to protect the capsule during Earth atmospheric entry, even at high return velocities from Lunar and Martian missions. The Dragon capsule is re-usable, and can fly multiple missions. The trunk is not recoverable; it separates from the capsule before re-entry and burns up in Earth's atmosphere. The trunk section, which carries the spacecraft's solar panels and allows the transport of unpressurized cargo to the ISS, was first used for cargo on the SpaceX CRS-2 mission.
The spacecraft is launched atop a Falcon 9 booster. The Dragon capsule is equipped with 18 Draco thrusters. During its initial cargo and crew flights, the Dragon capsule will land in the Pacific Ocean and be returned to the shore by ship.
For the ISS Dragon cargo flights, the ISS's Canadarm2 grapples its Flight-Releasable Grapple Fixture and berths Dragon to the station's US Orbital Segment using a Common Berthing Mechanism. The CRS Dragon does not have an independent means of maintaining a breathable atmosphere for astronauts and instead circulates in fresh air from the ISS. For typical missions, Dragon is planned to remain berthed to the ISS for about 30 days.
The Dragon capsule can transport 3,310 kg (7,300 lb) of cargo, which can be all pressurized, all unpressurized, or a combination thereof. It can return to Earth 3,310 kg (7,300 lb), which can be all unpressurized disposal mass, or up to 2,500 kg of return pressurized cargo, driven by parachute limitations. There is a volume constraint of 14 m3 (490 cu ft) trunk unpressurized cargo and 11.2 m3 (400 cu ft) of pressurized cargo (up or down). The trunk was first used operationally on the Dragon's CRS-2 mission in March 2013. Its solar arrays produce a peak power of 4 kW.
The design was modified beginning with the fifth Dragon flight on the SpaceX CRS-3 mission to the ISS in March 2014. While the outer mold line of the Dragon was unchanged, the avionics and cargo racks were redesigned to supply substantially more electrical power to powered cargo devices, including the GLACIER and MERLIN freezer modules for transporting critical science payloads.
Variants and derivatives
When used for non-NASA, non-ISS commercial flights, the uncrewed version of the Dragon spacecraft is called DragonLab. It is reusable and free-flying and can carry pressurized and unpressurized payloads. Its subsystems include propulsion, power, thermal and environmental control, avionics, communications, thermal protection, flight software, guidance and navigation systems, and entry, descent, landing, and recovery gear. It has a total combined upmass of 6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb) upon launch, and a maximum downmass of 3,000 kilograms (6,600 lb) when returning to Earth. In November 2014 there were two DragonLab missions listed on the SpaceX launch manifest: one in 2016 and another in 2018. However, these missions were removed from the manifest in early 2017, with no official SpaceX statement. The American Biosatellites once performed similar uncrewed payload-delivery functions, and the Russian Bion satellites still continue to do so.
Dragon 2: Crew and Cargo
A successor of Dragon called SpaceX Dragon 2 has been developed by SpaceX, designed to carry passengers and crew. It has been designed to be able to carry up to seven astronauts, or some mix of crew and cargo, to and from low Earth orbit. The Dragon 2 heat shield is designed to withstand Earth re-entry velocities from Lunar and Martian spaceflights. SpaceX undertook several U.S. Government contracts to develop the Dragon 2 crewed variant, including a Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev 2)-funded Space Act Agreement in April 2011, and a Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap)-funded space act agreement in August 2014. The phase 2 of the CRS contract will be flown using the Dragon 2 Cargo variant lacking cockpit controls, seats and life support systems.
Red Dragon was a cancelled version of the Dragon spacecraft that had been previously proposed to fly farther than Earth orbit and transit to Mars via interplanetary space. In addition to SpaceX's own privately funded plans for an eventual Mars mission, NASA Ames Research Center had developed a concept called Red Dragon: a low-cost Mars mission that would use Falcon Heavy as the launch vehicle and trans-Martian injection vehicle, and the SpaceX Dragon 2-based capsule to enter the atmosphere of Mars. The concept was originally envisioned for launch in 2018 as a NASA Discovery mission, then alternatively for 2022, but was never formally submitted for funding within NASA. The mission would have been designed to return samples from Mars to Earth at a fraction of the cost of NASA's own sample-return mission, which was projected in 2015 to cost $6 billion.
On 27 April 2016, SpaceX announced its plan to go ahead and launch a modified Dragon lander to Mars in 2018. However, Musk canceled the Red Dragon program in July 2017 to focus on developing the Starship system instead. The modified Red Dragon capsule would have performed all entry, descent and landing (EDL) functions needed to deliver payloads of 1 tonne (2,200 lb) or more to the Martian surface without using a parachute. Preliminary analysis showed that the capsule's atmospheric drag would slow it enough for the final stage of its descent to be within the abilities of its SuperDraco retro-propulsion thrusters.
On 27 March 2020, SpaceX revealed the Dragon XL resupply spacecraft to carry pressurized and unpressurized cargo, experiments and other supplies to NASA's planned Lunar Gateway under a Gateway Logistics Services (GLS) contract. The equipment delivered by Dragon XL missions could include sample collection materials, spacesuits and other items astronauts may need on the Gateway and on the surface of the Moon, according to NASA. It will launch on SpaceX Falcon Heavy rockets from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon XL will stay at the Gateway for 6 to 12 months at a time, when research payloads inside and outside the cargo vessel could be operated remotely, even when crews are not present. Its payload capacity is expected to be more than 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb) to lunar orbit.
List of missions
List includes only completed or currently manifested missions. Launch dates are listed in UTC.
|Mission||Capsule No.||Launch date (UTC)||Remarks||Time at ISS
|SpX-C1||C101||8 December 2010||First Dragon mission, second Falcon 9 launch. Mission tested the orbital maneuvering and reentry of the Dragon capsule. After recovery, the capsule was put on display at SpaceX's headquarters.||N/A||Success|
|SpX-C2+||C102||22 May 2012||First Dragon mission with complete spacecraft, first rendezvous mission, first berthing with ISS. After recovery, the capsule was put on display at Kennedy Space Center.||5d 16h||Success|
|SpX-1||C103||8 October 2012||First Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission for NASA, first non-demo mission. Falcon 9 rocket suffered a partial engine failure during launch but was able to deliver Dragon into orbit. However, a secondary payload did not reach its correct orbit.||17d 22h||Success; launch anomaly|
|SpX-2||C104||1 March 2013||First launch of Dragon using trunk section to carry cargo. Launch was successful, but anomalies occurred with the spacecraft's thrusters shortly after liftoff. Thruster function was later restored and orbit corrections were made, but the spacecraft's rendezvous with the ISS was delayed from its planned date of 2 March until 3 March, when it was successfully berthed with the Harmony module. Dragon splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean on 26 March.||22d 18h||Success; spacecraft anomaly|
|SpX-3||C105||18 April 2014||First launch of the redesigned Dragon: same outer mold line with the avionics and cargo racks redesigned to supply substantially more electric power to powered cargo devices, including additional cargo freezers (GLACIER, MERLIN) for transporting critical science payloads. Launch rescheduled for 18 April due to a helium leak.||27d 21h||Success|
|SpX-4||C106||21 September 2014||First launch of a Dragon with living payload, in the form of 20 mice which are part of a NASA experiment to study the physiological effects of long-duration spaceflight.||31d 22h||Success|
|SpX-5||C107||10 January 2015||Cargo manifest change due to Cygnus CRS Orb-3 launch failure. Carried the Cloud Aerosol Transport System experiment.||29d 03h||Success|
|SpX-6||C108||14 April 2015||The robotic SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, 21 May 2015.||33d 20h||Success|
|SpX-7||C109||28 June 2015||This mission was supposed to deliver the first of two International Docking Adapters (IDA) to modify Russian APAS-95 docking ports to the newer international standard. The payload was lost due to an in-flight explosion of the carrier rocket. The Dragon capsule survived the blast; it could have deployed its parachutes and performed a splashdown in the ocean, but its software did not take this situation into account.||N/A||Failure|
|SpX-8||C110||8 April 2016||Delivered the Bigelow BEAM module in the unpressurized cargo trunk. First stage landed for the first time successfully on sea barge. A month later, the Dragon capsule was recovered, carrying a downmass containing astronaut's Scott Kelly biological samples from his year-long mission on board of ISS.||30d 21h||Success|
|SpX-9||C111||18 July 2016||Delivered docking adapter IDA-2 to modify the ISS docking port Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA-2) for Commercial Crew spacecraft.
Longest time a Dragon Capsule was in space.
|SpX-10||C112||19 February 2017||First launch from KSC LC-39A since STS-135 in mid-2011. Berthing to the ISS was delayed by a day due to software incompatibilities.||23d 8h||Success|
|SpX-11||C106.2 ♺||3 June 2017||The first mission to re-fly a recovered Dragon capsule (previously flown on CRS-4).||27d 1h||Success|
|SpX-12||C113||14 August 2017||Last mission to use a new Dragon 1 spacecraft||30d 21h||Success|
|SpX-13||C108.2 ♺||15 December 2017||Second reuse of Dragon capsule. First NASA mission to fly aboard reused Falcon 9. First reuse of this specific Dragon spacecraft.||25d 21h||Success|
|SpX-14||C110.2 ♺||2 April 2018||Third reuse of a Dragon capsule, only necessitated replacing its heatshield, trunk, and parachutes. Returned over 4000 pounds of cargo. First reuse of this specific Dragon spacecraft.||23d 1h||Success|
|SpX-15||C111.2 ♺||29 June 2018||Fourth reuse. First reuse of this specific Dragon spacecraft.||32d 2h||Success|
|SpX-16||C112.2 ♺||5 December 2018||Fifth reuse. First reuse of this specific Dragon spacecraft. The first-stage booster landing failed due to a grid fin hydraulic pump stall on reentry.||36d 7h||Success|
|SpX-17||C113.2 ♺||4 May 2019||Sixth reuse. First reuse of this specific Dragon spacecraft.||28d 2h||Success|
|SpX-18||C108.3 ♺||24 July 2019||Seventh reuse. First capsule to make a third flight.||30d 20h||Success|
|SpX-19||C106.3 ♺||5 December 2019||Eighth reuse. Second capsule to make a third flight.||29d 19h||Success|
|SpX-20||C112.3 ♺||7 March 2020||Ninth reuse. Third capsule to make a third flight. Final launch of this Dragon version (Dragon 1), with future launches using SpaceX Dragon 2.||29d||Success|
The following specifications are published by SpaceX for the non-NASA, non-ISS commercial flights of the refurbished Dragon capsules, listed as "DragonLab" flights on the SpaceX manifest. The specifications for the NASA-contracted Dragon Cargo were not included in the 2009 DragonLab datasheet.
- 10 m3 (350 cu ft) interior pressurized, environmentally controlled, payload volume.
- Onboard environment: 10–46 °C (50–115 °F); relative humidity 25~75%; 13.9~14.9 psia air pressure (958.4~1027 hPa).
Unpressurized sensor bay (recoverable payload)
- 0.1 m3 (3.5 cu ft) unpressurized payload volume.
- Sensor bay hatch opens after orbit insertion to allow full sensor access to the outer space environment, and closes before Earth atmosphere re-entry.
Unpressurized trunk (non-recoverable)
- 14 m3 (490 cu ft) payload volume in the 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in) trunk, aft of the pressure vessel heat shield, with optional trunk extension to 4.3 m (14 ft 1 in) total length, payload volume increases to 34 m3 (1,200 cu ft).
- Supports sensors and space apertures up to 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in) in diameter.
Power, communication and command systems
- Power: twin solar panels providing 1,500 W average, 4,000 W peak, at 28 and 120 VDC.
- Spacecraft communication: commercial standard RS-422 and military standard 1553 serial I/O, plus Ethernet communications for IP-addressable standard payload service.
- Command uplink: 300 kbps.
- Telemetry/data downlink: 300 Mbit/s standard, fault-tolerant S-band telemetry and video transmitters.
Dragon uses a "radiation-tolerant" design in the electronic hardware and software that make up its flight computers. The system uses three pairs of computers, each constantly checking on the others, to instantiate a fault-tolerant design. In the event of a radiation upset or soft error, one of the computer pairs will perform a soft reboot. Including the six computers that make up the main flight computers, Dragon employs a total of 18 triple-processor computers.
- Comparison of space station cargo vehicles
- List of human spaceflight programs
- Space Shuttle successors
- Automated Transfer Vehicle – Uncrewed cargo spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency
- Cygnus (spacecraft) – Uncrewed cargo spacecraft developed by Orbital Sciences
- Dream Chaser – US reusable automated cargo lifting-body spaceplane
- H-II Transfer Vehicle – Uncrewed cargo spacecraft developed by JAXA
- Progress (spacecraft) – Russian expendable freighter spacecraft
- Soyuz GVK – Planned reusable cargo spacecraft
- "SpaceX Brochure – 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- SpaceX Dragon specs
- "DragonLab datasheet" (PDF). Hawthorne, California: SpaceX. 8 September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- "SpaceX Launches Private Capsule on Historic Trip to Space Station". Space.com. 22 May 2012.
- "The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2012" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- Tarajevits, Thomas. "Revisions to What computer and software is used by the Falcon 9?". Space Exploration Stack Exchange. Retrieved 31 May 2020. Tarazevits says in his comment that he learned those information at "Engineer the Future" session with Jinnah Hussein.
- "r/IAmA - We are SpaceX Software Engineers - We Launch Rockets into Space - AMA". reddit. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
- "r/IAmA - Comment by u/spacexdevtty on "We are SpaceX Software Engineers - We Launch Rockets into Space - AMA"". reddit. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
- "r/IAmA - Comment by u/spacexdevtty on "We are SpaceX Software Engineers - We Launch Rockets into Space - AMA"". reddit. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
- "SpaceX's Dragon captured by ISS, preparing for historic berthing". NASASpaceflight.com. 25 May 2012.
- Chang, Kenneth (25 May 2012). "Space X Capsule Docks at Space Station". New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "SpaceX's Dragon Docks With Space Station—A First". National Geographic. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Liftoff! SpaceX Dragon Launches 1st Private Space Station Cargo Mission". Space.com. 8 October 2012.
- "Falcon 9 undergoes pad rehearsal for October launch". Spaceflight Now. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Worldwide Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Press Briefed on the Next Mission to the International Space Station". NASA. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- "NASA Taps SpaceX, Orbital Sciences to Haul Cargo to Space Station". Space.com. 23 December 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- Mark Carreau (3 June 2017). "SpaceX Advances Space Hardware Reuse With Latest Flight". Aviation Week Network.
- "NASA, Partners Update Commercial Crew Launch Dates". NASA Commercial Crew Program Blog. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
- "Falcon 9 launches final first-generation Dragon". SpaceNews.com. 7 March 2020.
- "5 Fun Facts About Private Rocket Company SpaceX". Space.com. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Berger, Brian (8 March 2006). "SpaceX building reusable crew capsule". NBC News. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- "NASA selects crew, cargo launch partners". Spaceflight Now. 18 August 2006. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Thorn, Valin (11 January 2007). "Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Overview" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
- Boyle, Alan (18 August 2006). "SpaceX, Rocketplane win spaceship contest". NBC News. New York. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Berger, Brian (19 October 2007). "Time Runs out for RpK; New COTS Competition Starts Immediately". Space.com. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- Bergin, Chris (19 February 2008). "Orbital beat a dozen competitors to win NASA COTS contract". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "F9/Dragon Will Replace the Cargo Transport Function of the Space Shuttle after 2010" (Press release). Hawthorne, California: SpaceX. 23 December 2008. Archived from the original on 21 July 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
- "SpaceX Manufactured Heat Shield Material Passes High Temperature Tests Simulating Reentry Heating Conditions of Dragon Spacecraft" (Press release). SpaceX. 23 February 2009. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2009.(original link is dead; see version at businesswire (accessed 1 September 2015)
- Chaikin, Andrew (January 2012). "1 visionary + 3 launchers + 1,500 employees = ? : Is SpaceX changing the rocket equation?". Air & Space Smithsonian. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "UPDATE: Wednesday, 23 September 2009" (Press release). Hawthorne, California: SpaceX. 23 September 2009. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Update: 23 September 2009. SpaceX.com. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- Bergin, Chris (28 March 2010). "SpaceX announce successful activation of Dragon's CUCU onboard ISS". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- "Former astronaut Bowersox Joins SpaceX as vice president of Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance" (Press release). SpaceX. 18 June 2009. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- Svitak, Amy (18 November 2012). "Dragon's "Radiation-Tolerant" Design". Aviation Week. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- Bergin, Chris (3 March 2015). "NASA lines up four additional CRS missions for Dragon and Cygnus". NASA SpaceFlight. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- de Selding, Peter B. (24 February 2016). "SpaceX wins 5 new space station cargo missions in NASA contract estimated at $700 million". Space News. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- "Sierra Nevada Corp. joins SpaceX and Orbital ATK in winning NASA resupply contracts". Washington Post. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
- Guy Norris (20 September 2009). "SpaceX, Orbital Explore Using Their Launch Vehicles To Carry Humans". Aviation Week. Retrieved 26 October 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "SpaceX Achieves Orbital Bullseye With Inaugural Flight of Falcon 9 Rocket: A major win for NASA's plan to use commercial rockets for astronaut transport". SpaceX. 7 June 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Private space capsule's maiden voyage ends with a splash". BBC News. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- "STS-133: SpaceX's DragonEye set for late installation on Discovery". NASASpaceflight.com. 19 July 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "NASA Statements on FAA Granting Reentry License To SpaceX" (Press release). 22 November 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- Ray, Justin (9 December 2011). "SpaceX demo flights merged as launch date targeted". Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom: Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 9 December 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- "ISS welcomes SpaceX Dragon". Wired. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- "SpaceX's Dragon already achieving key milestones following Falcon 9 ride". NASASpaceflight.com. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 22 May 2012". NASA via SpaceRef.com. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- Pierrot Durand (28 May 2012). "Cargo Aboard Dragon Spacecraft to Be Unloaded On May 28". French Tribune.
- "Splashdown for SpaceX Dragon spacecraft". BBC. 31 May 2012.
- "SpaceX Dragon Capsule opens new era". Reuters via BusinessTech.co.za. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "NASA Administrator Announces New Commercial Crew And Cargo Milestones". NASA. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "SpaceX CRS-12 mission comes to a close with Dragon's splashdown". SpaceFlight Insider. 18 September 2017.
- "SpaceX capsule returns with safe landing in Pacific". BBC. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- Clark, Stephen. "Cargo manifest for SpaceX's 11th resupply mission to the space station – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 3 June 2017.
- "The Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR Mission". NASA. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
Previously scheduled for a December 2016 launch on SpaceX-12, NICER will now fly to the International Space Station with two other payloads on SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)-11, in the Dragon vehicle's unpressurized Trunk.
- Foust, Jeff (14 October 2016). "SpaceX to reuse Dragon capsules on cargo missions". SpaceNews. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- Gebhardt, Chris (28 May 2017). "SpaceX static fires CRS-11 Falcon 9 Sunday ahead of ISS mission". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "SpaceX's CRS-11 Dragon captured by Station for a second time – NASASpaceFlight.com". www.nasaspaceflight.com.
- Gebhardt, Chris (26 July 2017). "TDRS-M given priority over CRS-12 Dragon as launch dates realign". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Bergin, Chris; Gebhardt, Chris (13 January 2018). "SpaceX's CRS-13 Dragon returns home". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "SpaceX – Commercial Crew Development (CCDEV)" (video). 19 June 2015. 3:48. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "NASA expects a gap in commercial crew funding". Spaceflightnow.com. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- "This Week in Space interview with Elon Musk". Spaceflight Now. 24 January 2010.
- "Elon Musk's SpaceX presentation to the Augustine panel". YouTube. June 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Rosenberg, Zach (30 March 2012). "Boeing details bid to win NASA shuttle replacement". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
- "Commercial Crew Integrated Capability". NASA. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- Shotwell, Gwynne (4 June 2014). Discussion with Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO, SpaceX. Atlantic Council. Event occurs at 12:20–13:10. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
NASA ultimately gave us about $396 million; SpaceX put in over $450 million ... [for an] EELV-class launch vehicle ... as well as a capsule
- Chow, Denise (8 December 2010). "Q & A with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk: Master of Private Space Dragons". Space.com. New York. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Fibersim helps SpaceX manufacture composite parts for Dragon spacecraft". ReinforcedPlastics.com. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- "Production at SpaceX". SpaceX. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Dragon Overview". SpaceX. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Clark, Stephen (16 July 2010). "Second Falcon 9 rocket begins arriving at the Cape". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "SpaceX Updates — December 10, 2007". SpaceX. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
- "Second Falcon 9 rocket begins arriving at the Cape". Spaceflight Now. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "SpaceX CRS-2 Dragon return timeline". Spaceflightnow. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
The unpressurized trunk section of the Dragon spacecraft separates. The trunk is designed to burn up on re-entry, while the pressurized capsule returns to Earth intact.
- Jones, Thomas D. (December 2006). "Tech Watch — Resident Astronaut". Popular Mechanics. 183 (12): 31. ISSN 0032-4558.
- "SpaceX • COTS Flight 1 Press Kit" (PDF). SpaceX. 6 December 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Bergin, Chris (12 April 2012). "ISS translates robotic assets in preparation to greet SpaceX's Dragon". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
- Brenda J. Hernandez, Siarhei Piatrovich, Mauro Prina (2011). "SpaceX Dragon Air Circulation System" (PDF). SpaceX / American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Retrieved 15 April 2012.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "NASA Advisory Council Space Operations Committee" (PDF). NASA. July 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
- "The ISS CRS contract (signed 23 December 2008)"
- Bergin, Chris (19 October 2012). "Dragon enjoying ISS stay, despite minor issues – Falcon 9 investigation begins". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
CRS-2 will debut the use of Dragon’s Trunk section, capable of delivering unpressurized cargo, prior to the payload being removed by the ISS' robotic assets after berthing.
Gwynne Shotwell (21 March 2014). Broadcast 2212: Special Edition, interview with Gwynne Shotwell (audio file). The Space Show. Event occurs at 18:35–19:10. 2212. Archived from the original (mp3) on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
looks the same on the outside ... new avionics system, new software, and new cargo racking system
- "Launch Manifest". Hawthorne, California: SpaceX. 2011. Archived from the original on 20 November 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Launch Manifest". SpaceX. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Space Exploration Technologies Corporation - Press". 3 May 2012. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
- Bergin, Chris (16 September 2014). "Dream Chaser misses out on CCtCAP – Dragon and CST-100 win through". NASA SpaceFlight. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Clark, Stephen (2 August 2019). "SpaceX to begin flights under new cargo resupply contract next year". Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- Wall, Mike (10 September 2015). "'Red Dragon' Mars Sample-Return Mission Could Launch by 2022". Space.com. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- @SpaceX (27 April 2016). "Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Newmann, Dava. "Exploring Together". NASA Official Blog. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
- Berger, Eric (19 July 2017). "SpaceX appears to have pulled the plug on its Red Dragon plans". Ars Technica. arstechnica.com. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
- Grush, Loren (19 July 2017). "Elon Musk suggests SpaceX is scrapping its plans to land Dragon capsules on Mars". The Verge.
- Wall, Mike (31 July 2011). "'Red Dragon' Mission Mulled as Cheap Search for Mars Life". Space.com. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "NASA ADVISORY COUNCIL (NAC) – Science Committee Report" (PDF). NASA Ames Research Center. 1 November 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- Potter, Sean (27 March 2020). "NASA Awards Artemis Contract for Gateway Logistics Services". NASA. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
- Clark, Stephen. "NASA picks SpaceX to deliver cargo to Gateway station in lunar orbit – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 28 March 2020.
- "Dragon XL revealed as NASA ties SpaceX to Lunar Gateway supply contract". 27 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
- "SpaceX Launches Success with Falcon 9/Dragon Flight". NASA. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex [@ExploreSpaceKSC] (14 December 2016). "Same Dragon as displayed here in Feb 2015 from the C2+ or COTS Demo Flight 2 mission" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 April 2018 – via Twitter.
- "Falcon 9 Drops Orbcomm Satellite in Wrong Orbit". Aviation Week. 8 October 2012. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- "Private Spacecraft to Launch Space Station Cargo on 7 Oct". LiveScience. 25 September 2012.
- "Dragon Spacecraft Glitch Was 'Frightening,' SpaceX Chief Elon Musk Says". Space.com. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Dragon Mission Report". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "NASA says SpaceX Dragon is safe to dock with the International Space Station on Sunday". The Verge. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "SpaceX hits snag; Dragon capsule won't dock with space station on schedule". WKMG TV. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "SpaceX Dragon cargo ship splashes into Pacific". Boston Globe. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- "Range Realigns – SpaceX CRS-3 mission targets April 14". NASASpaceflight.com. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- "CRS-3 Update". new.livestream.com. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014.
- "[SpaceX] Launch of SpaceX's Dragon CRS-3 Spacecraft on Falcon 9v1.1 Rocket". SpaceVids.tv. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Spaceflight Now Tracking Station". spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "SpaceX Dragon Flying Mice in Space & More for NASA". Space.com. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- "Space X Dragon capsule returns to Earth – CRS-4 Mission ends with a splash!".
- "LAUNCH OF SPACEX'S CRS-5 MISSION SLIPS TO 16 DEC., IMAGES OF LANDING 'BARGE' EMERGE". Spaceflight Insider. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Spaceflight Now Launch Schedule". spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Bergin, Chris (27 July 2015). "Saving Spaceship Dragon – Software to provide contingency chute deploy". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Cooper, Ben. "Rocket Launch Viewing Guide for Cape Canaveral – Atlas 5, Delta 4 & Falcon 9". Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Lindsey, Clark (16 January 2013). "NASA and Bigelow release details of expandable module for ISS". NewSpace Watch. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Dragon Splashdown" (Press release). SpaceX. 11 May 2016.
- "Worldwide Launch Schedule". SpaceflightNow. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Garcia, Mark. "Dragon Launches to Station, Arrives Wednesday".
- Clark, Stephen. "SpaceX's Dragon supply carrier wraps up 10th mission to space station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- Etherington, Darrell (3 July 2017). "SpaceX's first re-flown Dragon capsule successfully returns to Earth". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- Graham, William (14 December 2017). "Flight proven Falcon 9 launches previously flown Dragon to ISS". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- Cooper, Ben (2 April 2018). "Rocket Launch Viewing Guide for Cape Canaveral". Launchphotography.com. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
- Clark, Stephen (3 August 2018). "SpaceX cargo capsule comes back to Earth from space station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
- "SpaceX CRS-16 Dragon Resupply Mission" (PDF). SpaceX. December 2018.
- Lewin, Sarah (5 December 2018). "SpaceX Launches Dragon Cargo Ship to Space Station, But Misses Rocket Landing". Space.com. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Bergin, Chris (14 January 2019). "CRS-16 Dragon returns to Earth following ISS departure". NASA SpaceflightNow. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Ralph, Eric (4 May 2019). "SpaceX gives infrared glimpse of Falcon 9 landing after successful Dragon launch". Teslarati.com. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
- Bergin, Chris (3 June 2019). "CRS-17 Dragon returns home from ISS mission". NASA SpaceflightNow. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
- @SpaceX (19 July 2019). "The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously visited the @space_station in April 2015 and December 2017" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
- @SpaceX (27 November 2019). "The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously flew in support of our fourth and eleventh commercial resupply missions" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
- @SpaceX (1 March 2020). "The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously flew in support of our tenth and sixteenth commercial resupply missions – this will be the third Dragon to fly on three missions" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Launch Schedule - Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to SpaceX Dragon.|