Dragon is a reusable spacecraft being developed by SpaceX under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.
The Dragon program was initiated internally by SpaceX in 2005.
The spacecraft is designed for Earth to LEO transport of pressurized cargo and/or crew members, and unpressurized cargo. The spacecraft has two segments: a pressurized capsule and unpressurized trunk.
In December 2008, NASA announced the selection of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires. The .6 billion contract represents a minimum of 12 flights, with an option to order additional missions for a cumulative total contract value of up to $3.1 billion.
- Fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with manual override capability in crewed configuration
- 6, 000 kg (13, 228 lbs) payload up-mass to LEO; 3, 000 kg (6, 614 lbs) payload down-mass
- Payload Volume: 10 m3 (350 ft3) pressurized, 14 m3 (490 ft3) unpressurized
- Supports up to 7 passengers in Crew configuration
- Two-fault tolerant avionics system with extensive heritage
- Reaction control system with 18 MMH/NTO thrusters designed and built in-house; these thrusters are used for both attitude control and orbital maneuvering
- 1290 kg of propellant supports a safe mission profile from sub-orbital insertion to ISS rendezvous to reentry
- Integral common berthing mechanism, with LIDS or APAS support if required
- Designed for water landing under parachute for ocean recovery
- Lifting re-entry for landing precision & low-g’s
- Ablative, high-performance heat shield and sidewall thermal protection
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