Cargo spacecraft

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A collage of automated cargo spacecraft used in the past or present to resupply the International Space Station

Cargo spacecraft are robotic spacecraft that are designed to support space station operation by transporting food, propellant and other supplies. This is different from space probes, whose missions are to conduct scientific investigations.

Automated cargo spacecraft have been used since 1978 and have serviced Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir and the International Space Station.


Current spacecraft[edit]

Defunct or retired projects[edit]

Spacecraft in development[edit]

  • a Chinese cargo craft based on Tiangong-1 that will have a maximum diameter of 3.35 meters and a launch weight less than 13 tons.[7]
  • A variant of the CST-100 crew transportation vehicle has been proposed by Boeing for cargo delivery.[8]
  • In January 2016, NASA announced that Dream Chaser had been awarded one of the contracts under CRS2. NASA committed to purchasing a minimum of six resupply missions to the ISS from Sierra Nevada.[9]

Unmanned resupply spacecraft comparison.png

Canceled projects[edit]

  • The American private-sector Kistler K-1 from Rocketplane Kistler saw its contract with NASA terminated in October 2007 when the company failed to meet objectives. The contract was re-awarded to Orbital Sciences Corporation.[10][11]

See also[edit]