How Important is SpaceX Dragon to NASA?
SpaceX Dragon, known as Falcon 9, delivers NASA cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), holding almost 7,500 pounds of supplies, equipment, and gear to astronauts on the orbiting lab, thus proving Dragon’s essential role in NASA’s regular operations. While SpaceX and NASA have not always seen eye to eye in the past, it’s clear that NASA needs this particular SpaceX technology, and this has allowed for a symbiotic relationship between the two space exploration organizations.
The Dragon Spacecraft from SpaceX
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is a private space transportation organization that has gained quite a bit of interest in recent years, primarily due to its fixation on travel to Mars, and an emphasis on the habitability of the planet. SpaceX has proven to be one of the most innovative space organizations of today, launching a multitude of exciting technology while focusing on offering more cost-efficient and environmentally responsible means for space travel.
SpaceX Dragon has proven to be one of the most consistently reliable developments of the company and was the first spacecraft to ever successfully return from orbit essentially unscathed, proving its long-term value and impressive ability to reduce space transportation costs. Initially launched in 2010, it proved its worth to NASA when it successfully attached to and detached from the International Space Station, instantly proving that it could be a highly cost-effective way for transporting cargo with minimal investment on NASA’s part.
If you ask those running SpaceX, you’ll be told that Dragon is a constant work in progress, as there is a near obsession with making it as low-cost and efficient as possible. Therefore, with each passing year, this technology is improved and upgraded to really minimize resources needed to allow it to operate as a capable cargo spacecraft.
The Benefits of Using SpaceX Dragon
Dragon’s role is that of a cargo vehicle, and therefore proves its absolutely crucial place in NASA’s operations. As more and more operations take place in the International Space Station, cargo vehicles are absolutely essential as the only practical means for delivering supplies and instruments to astronauts who are presently inhabiting it. Without cargo vehicles, many space missions would be prolonged, not to mention much more costly, due to needing to return actual astronauts to and from the International Space Station each time new goods are necessary.
And, Dragon was far from a vanity product. It was developed just for NASA, when it was announced that they needed a cargo vehicle built specifically for this reason. SpaceX managed to rise to the challenge in 2005, and Dragon continues to be the only means for cargo transportation to and from the space station today.
Not only is Dragon technology designed to be reusable, but it can handle up to 7,700 pounds of goods which up until its development seemed to be impossible. A highly advanced internal pressurization system makes Dragon space-effective, being capable of holding extremely large objects so that only one cargo vehicle is required. Also, the cargo itself is used to make more space discoveries, which allows space missions to occur with less time elapsing in between.
Not only is Dragon currently busy fulfilling its initial role, but it’s also being used to install Sirius-XM into our orbit via a satellite. Because of how cost-effective this technology is, it can fulfill all kinds of roles that directly benefit us on Earth without requiring massive resources from NASA.
On June 5, Dragon once again successfully docked at the International Space Station, delivering solar arrays that will be used by a team of astronauts who are studying the sun. Along with these solar arrays came other essential recording instruments and astronaut gear to make the upcoming mission as safe and efficient as possible.
And, it goes without saying that after so many successful missions, Dragon will continue to be utilized by NASA for a long time to come. All the meanwhile, SpaceX will continue upgrading Dragon so that it costs even less resources to use, while satisfying its ultimate mission of delivering goods in an effective and timely manner.
With many exciting NASA missions in the works, we will be hearing a lot more about Dragon’s contributions in the years to come, and without a doubt, the technology will prove to have a major impact on NASA’s abilities to discover new facts about our solar system. Missions will be able to take place more quickly, and will ultimately cost less money on NASA’s part, thus aiding in NASA’s ability to reach its goals for the years to come. For the time-being, Dragon has proved itself once again this past week, and has shown itself to be hugely reliable.