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SpaceX CRS-6

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SpaceX CRS-6
The SpaceX CRS-6 Dragon spacecraft as seen from the ISS on 17 April 2015
Mission typeISS resupply
OperatorSpaceX / NASA
COSPAR ID2015-021A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.40588
Mission duration30 days (planned)
36 days, 20 hours, 31 minutes (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftDragon C108
Spacecraft typeDragon CRS
Launch mass6,000 kg (13,000 lb)
Dimensions8.1 m (27 ft) (height)
4 m (13 ft) (diameter)
Start of mission
Launch date14 April 2015, 20:10:41 UTC
RocketFalcon 9 v1.1
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-40
End of mission
Landing date21 May 2015, 16:42 UTC
Landing sitePacific Ocean
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[1]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Berthing at ISS
Berthing portHarmony nadir
RMS capture17 April 2015, 10:55 UTC
Berthing date17 April 2015, 13:29 UTC
Unberthing date21 May 2015, 09:29 UTC
RMS release21 May 2015, 11:04 UTC
Time berthed33 days, 20 hours
Mass2,015 kg (4,442 lb) [2]
Pressurised2,015 kg (4,442 lb)

NASA SpX-6 mission patch  

SpaceX CRS-6, also known as SpX-6, was a Commercial Resupply Service mission to the International Space Station, contracted to NASA. It was the eighth flight for SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft and the sixth SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract. It was docked to the International Space Station from 17 April to 21 May 2015.

Launch history[edit]

In July 2014, the launch was scheduled by NASA for February 2015, with berthing to the station occurring two days later. However, as a result of delays in the launch of the previous SpaceX CRS-5 mission, SpaceX CRS-6 launched on 14 April 2015. In late March, 2015, the launch was scheduled for 13 April 2015,[3] but was later postponed to 14 April 2015 due to weather conditions.[4]

A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) application submitted for temporary communication frequency authority noted the launch planning date as no earlier than 8 April 2015. The application also confirmed communication uplinks for use with the first stage of this mission as it attempted to conduct a first-ever propulsive landing on the Autonomous spaceport drone ship after staging.[5]


Primary payload[edit]

NASA has contracted for the CRS-6 mission from SpaceX and therefore determines the primary payload, date/time of launch, and orbital parameters for the Dragon space capsule. The Dragon spacecraft was filled with 2,015 kg (4,442 lb) of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support about 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expedition 43 and Expedition 44.[2]

Among other items on board:

Secondary payload[edit]

SpaceX has the primary control over manifesting, scheduling and loading secondary payloads. However, there are certain restrictions included in their contract with NASA that preclude specified hazards on the secondary payloads, and also require contract-specified probabilities of success and safety margins for any SpaceX reboosts of the secondary satellites once the Falcon 9 second stage has achieved its initial low Earth orbit (LEO).

SpaceX CRS-6 included science payloads for studying new ways to possibly counteract the microgravity-induced cell damage seen during spaceflight, the effects of microgravity on the most common cells in bones, gather new insight that could lead to treatments for osteoporosis and muscle wasting conditions, continue studies into astronaut vision changes and test a new material that could one day be used as a synthetic muscle for robotics explorers of the future. Also making the trip was a new espresso machine for space station crews.[2]

A part of this payload includes science experiments from high schools, such as a project from Ambassador High School in Torrance, California.[10]

Return payload[edit]

Dragon returned 1,370 kg (3,020 lb) of cargo to Earth.[2]

Post-launch flight test[edit]

After the separation of the second stage, SpaceX conducted a flight test and attempted to return the nearly-empty first stage of the Falcon 9 through the atmosphere and land it on a 90 m × 50 m (300 ft × 160 ft) floating platform called the autonomous spaceport drone ship. The unmanned launch vehicle technically landed on the floating platform, however it came down with too much lateral velocity, tipped over, and was destroyed.[11] Elon Musk later explained that the bipropellant valve was stuck, and therefore the control system could not react rapidly enough for a successful landing.[12]

This was SpaceX's second attempt to land the booster on a floating platform after an earlier test landing attempt in January 2015 had to be abandoned due to weather conditions. The booster was fitted with a variety of technologies to facilitate the flight test, including grid fins and landing legs to facilitate the post-mission test. If successful, this would have been the first time in history that a launch vehicle booster was returned to a vertical landing.[9][13]

On 15 April 2015, SpaceX released a video of the terminal phase of the descent, the landing, the tip over, and a small deflagration as the stage broke up on the deck of the ASDS.[14]

Capsule reflight[edit]

The Dragon capsule used for this mission was successfully flown a second time in December 2017 with SpaceX CRS-13. The capsule made its third and final flight as part of the SpaceX CRS-18 mission on 25 July 2019.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DRAGON CRS-6". N2YO.com. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "SpaceX CRS-6 Sixth Commercial Resupply Services Flight to the International Space Station" (PDF). NASA. April 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ "Launch Schedule". Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  4. ^ Lawler, Richard. "SpaceX's next try at landing a reusable rocket is minutes away". Engadget. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ "OET Special Temporary Authority Report". Retrieved 4 April 2015. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ "ARKYD: A Space Telescope for Everyone". KickStarter. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  7. ^ Wilhelm, Steve (16 October 2014). "First step toward asteroid mining: Planetary Resources set to launch test satellite". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Antares 130 debut with fourth Cygnus ready for second attempt". NASASpaceFlight.com. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  9. ^ a b Graham, William (13 April 2015). "SpaceX Falcon 9 scrubs CRS-6 Dragon launch due to weather". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Nanoracks-Ambassador High School-Pollen Propulsion in a Microgravity Environment (Nanoracks-AHS-Pollen Propulsion)". NASA. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  11. ^ "CRS-6 First Stage Landing". YouTube. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Elon Musk on Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  13. ^ Bergin, Chris (3 April 2015). "SpaceX preparing for a busy season of missions and test milestones". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  14. ^ CRS-6 First Stage Landing SpaceX, 15 April 2015

External links[edit]