SpaceX has been in the news a lot lately, and a lot of that is because of the newest accomplishments of the Dragon, one of the most beloved spacecrafts that the space transportation company has ever developed. The Dragon is highly unique in a variety of ways, and it’s clear that it’s an extremely useful vehicle that will continue to help space exploration evolve as the years go on.
So, what exactly is the Dragon, what purpose does it serve, and what makes it so special? As you’ll see, this isn’t your ordinary spacecraft, and as the years unfold, we expect to see it used more and more to help space exploration reach new heights.
Purpose of This Spacecraft
SpaceX is the private space transportation company launched by Elon Musk in an effort to make space travel more efficient and affordable. Musk’s motivation was being able to explore more of space without it being so taxing on our government’s resources. Over the years, SpaceX has launched many projects, but the Dragon is perhaps its most consistent and reliable.
The Dragon is quite impressive for a number of reasons. It was originally launched in 2010, and became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully recover from orbit. It also successfully attached and detached to and from the International Space Station, meaning that it’s highly useful to NASA and other space companies.
Knowing Musk’s obsession with perfection, it’s no surprise that the Dragon is getting upgraded frequently. That’s because it must continue to evolve in order to meet the growing demands of space exploration.
The Dragon serves as a cargo vehicle, which is more important than you may think. While much of the other spacecraft in the news is designed to acquire samples or transport people, the Dragon is responsible for transporting, well, stuff. And that stuff includes particularly large samples, repair items for other spacecrafts and more.
In fact, it was created specifically for NASA, as NASA required a cargo vehicle at the time that could meet its demands. That was back in 2005, and all these years later, it continues to fulfill its duties successfully.
While in orbit, the Dragon can accumulate up to 7,700 pounds of cargo and successfully and efficiently return it to Earth. A unique pressurization system was put in place to make the Dragon space-efficient so that it can handle large objects in an organized fashion. Much of the cargo that it sets out to acquire is used for research purposes. For instance, the Dragon was once the setting of a scientific study that determined how space travel affects blood pressure. The study used rats in place of humans.
Just recently, the Dragon landed in the Pacific Ocean after being used as a research center for an experimental cancer treatment. The study set out to determine the effects of space on DNA that is affected by cancer cells.
And, it seems that the Dragon will be launched again just next month, this time to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. We anticipate that it will continue to be a busy year for the spacecraft.
An Important Spacecraft Indeed
The Dragon is perhaps one of the most useful spacecrafts to come from SpaceX, and it continues to serve a wide variety of functions today. As time goes on, we expect to see it continue to make spacecraft more efficient thanks to its massive cargo capacity.