SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in pictures

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in pictures

Summary: SpaceX is preparing to launch the first private-sector flight to the International Space Station. Its Falcon 9 rocket will launch its Dragon capsule at the beginning of May

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

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  • Falcon 9 rocket

    NASA is making the final inspections before the scheduled launch of the first privately built and funded spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station, on 7 May. This could be the beginning of a new era of space travel — from the private sector.

    For this mission SpaceX is planning to launch its Dragon capsule, loaded with half a ton of cargo, with its own rocket, the Falcon 9, pictured above being readied for launch.

    Image credit: NASA

  • Technicians load supplies into Dragon

    NASA officials compare this mission to the Mercury programme, which was the first step to the Apollo programme and landing on the moon. SpaceX's launch is expected to open the door for future commercial flights.

    Above, technicians load supplies into Dragon in preparation for their rendezvous.

    Image credit: NASA

  • Nine engines

    The SpaceX Merlin engines power the Falcon 9 first stage. After the engines are ignited the rocket is still clamped and not allowed to launch until all systems are 'go'. The engines provide 125,000lbsf sea-level thrust per engine for a total thrust on lift-off of just over 1.1 million lbsf.

    Learning from early rocket failures, SpaceX uses nine engines, which should propel a successful launch even if one engine malfunctions.

    Image credit: NASA

Topic: Emerging Tech

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