SpaceX once again made history when its Dragon craft successfully returned from the International Space Station (ISS) – making it the first commercial spacecraft to fly to the station twice.
The unmanned Dragon capsule lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on June 3, bringing with it about 6,000lb of supplies and scientific cargo to the ISS, in what was the company’s 11th such supply mission.
It splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and into the record books on Monday, July 3, returning to Earth with more than 4,100lb of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples on board.
The mission is promising for the future of space travel. Reusable rockets, such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9, and reusable craft such as Dragon, dramatically lower the cost of such missions.
NASA realises the potential and benefits SpaceX brings to their missions. “Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return a significant amount of cargo to Earth,” NASA said in a press release.
This mission saw Dragon return to Earth with data on the effects of microgravity on heart and stem cells, as well as research into a drug that can overcome bone density loss for astronauts.