The first of the latest series of Dragon cargo spacecraft was launched by SpaceX on December 6, delivering tests and provisions to the International Space Station. At 11:17 a.m., the SpaceX Falcon 9 took off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. After a one-day pause triggered by the weather, Eastern, nearly 12 minutes after the liftoff occurred, it launched the Dragon cargo spacecraft. The first stage of the rocket, formerly used to deploy the ANASIS-2 satellite as well as a group of Starlink satellites for Demo-2 commercial crew mission in the month of May, arrived on a droneship in Atlantic Ocean.
The Dragon is transporting 2,972 kgs of cargo, both inside the spacecraft itself as well as in its exterior trunk, flying a mission named CRS-21. It is expected to dock independently with the Harmony module of the space station’s zenith port at 1:30 p.m. December. 7, East. CRS-21 is the debut mission to use a Crew Dragon spacecraft model built for the commercial crew system under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract of SpaceX. Sarah Walker, who serves at SpaceX as the director in charge of Dragon project management, said at a December. 4 prelaunch briefing, ‘What you are viewing on the outside, exterior, is similar outer mold line’ for the crew and cargo models. The major difference, she mentioned, is that the cargo variant lacks SuperDraco abort thrusters.
With around 20 percent more space compared to the first-generation cargo Dragon, the interior is revamped to carry luggage. Compared to 6 similar lockers on both the takeoff as well as return for the older Dragon version, the spacecraft will host 8 powered lockers for test payloads at the launch as well as 12 for its re-entry to Earth. Dragon can assist extra lockers for return than at release to use excess capacity required for the external payloads at launch.
Walker announced that the current Dragon would last for a maximum of 75 days on the ISS, double as long as the original model, but it going to be docked at the station for only a period of 35 days for the mission. Walker announced that the current Dragon would last for a maximum of 75 days on the ISS, double as long as the original model, but it going to be docked at the station for only a period of 35 days for the mission. The spacecraft, that can dock with the station directly instead of being moored by the station’s robotic arm, is planned to be used at least five times.
Although the initial Dragon cargo missions were deployed from both LC-39A and the nearby Space Launch Complex 40, Walker stated SpaceX intends to be using LC-39A in the near future for Dragon cargo missions, reaping the benefits of crew access arm to carry time-sensitive cargo there.