SpaceX showcased the company's flown Dragon space capsule at an event jointly hosted with Tesla Motors in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 10, 2011.
A depiction of the SpaceX DragonLab™ - a free-flying, fully-recoverable, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads.
The Dragon spacecraft is mounted on a fixture in the hangar at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
This still from a SpaceX mission concept video shows a Dragon space capsule landing on the surface of Mars. SpaceX's Dragon is a privately built space capsule to carry unmanned payloads, and eventually astronauts, into space.
This still from a SpaceX video shows the company's Dragon space capsule firing thrusters during a powered descent as it aims for a vertical landing at its launch site. The plan is part of SpaceX's vision for a completely reusable rocket and spacecraft.
A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship approaches the International Space Station in this artist's illustration.
An artist's illustration of SpaceX's Dragon space capsule in Earth orbit.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully droped its Dragon spacecraft from 14,000 feet in a high-altitude drop test to check its parachute and splashdown systems
This animation still depicts SpaceX's Dragon crew and cargo spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.
The Dragon qualification unit being outfitted with test Draco thruster housings. Depending on mission requirements, Dragon will carry as many as eighteen Draco thrusters per capsule.
The engineering model of the SpaceX Dragon capsule is to be on hand for public viewing at the Air and Space Expo.
SpaceX depicts its Dragon spaceship's space station flight in an animation still.
This still from a SpaceX animation depicts an unmanned Dragon spacecraft re-entering Earth's atmosphere ahead of a planned splashdown in the ocean.
These three stills from a SpaceX video depict the three components of a planned fully reusable rocket launching system, including a first stage (left), second stage (center) and crew capsule.
An artist's concept of SpaceX's Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle and Dragon crew and cargo capsules.
A look inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket.
In a SpaceX clean room in Hawthorne (Los Angeles) California, technicians prepare the Dragon spacecraft for thermal vacuum chamber testing. The open bays will hold the parachutes. NASA has given us a launch date of Nov 30, 2011 for Falcon 9 Flight 3, which will send a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.
SpaceX conducted separation tests of the Dragon trunk from the Falcon 9 second stage. Release mechanisms hold the trunk (top, with solar panel covers on left and right sides) to the stage (bottom). When activated, springs on the Falcon 9 push against the Dragon trunk. The trunk separates and the test fixture’s counterbalance system raises the spacecraft up and away.
In the Hawthorne factory high bay, SpaceX tested the Dragon solar array rotary actuator by hanging the full array from the ceiling. The actuator (top center) turns the entire array. In flight, the solar panels will track the sun for maximum energy capture.
Upper left: First stage tank, with domes and barrels for the second stage. Upper right: All nine Merlin engines have been individually tested in Texas and then returned to California for integration into the thrust assembly. Lower left: Composite interstage structure that joins the stages. Lower right: The pressure vessel for the CRS-1 Dragon spacecraft has 10 cubic meters (350 cu ft) of interior volume.
Photo of actual Dragon spacecraft after its first successful orbital flight.
The Dragon spacecraft landed in the Pacific Ocean 3 hours, 19 minutes and 52 seconds after liftoff—less than a minute after SpaceX had predicted and less than one mile from the center of the landing target.
Image above illustrates COTS Demo 1 mission orbital path. The yellow triangle over the Atlantic ocean marks Dragon’s initial separation from Falcon 9, and the yellow square off the Western coast of the United States marks the location where Dragon landed.
High contrast view of the Dragon spacecraft (circle at center) viewed from the top of the second stage as it departs over the curved horizon of the Earth. The rectangles indicate locations of three of the nano satellite deploying P-PODs carried on this mission.
Artist’s rendition of Dragon, thermally protected by SpaceX’s PICA-X advanced heat shield, reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
Dragon's three main parachutes fully deployed. Below float two drogue parachutes which deployed first to slow and stabilize the spacecraft.
After Falcon 9 stage separation, flames are barely visible around the nozzle as the second stage engine ignites and the first stage falls back to the Earth below.
The SpaceX crew brought Dragon back to the barge where the crane lifted it from the water.
In the SpaceX hangar at Cape Canaveral, the Dragon spacecraft prepares for integration with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Visible at the base of the spacecraft is Dragon’s heat shield, made of PICA-X, the SpaceX manufactured variation on NASA’s Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) heat shield material. Dragon will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere at around 7 kilometers per second (15,660 miles per hour), heating the exterior up to 1850 degrees Celsius. However, just a few inches of the PICA-X material will keep the interior of the spacecraft at a comfortable temperature.
SpaceX's Mission Control Center located at their headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Even when outfitted with the full cargo storage system, Dragon has plenty of room. Visiting NASA astronauts Cady Coleman and Scott Kelly discuss spacecraft cargo operations with SpaceX engineers. Both experienced space travelers, Cady and Scott are scheduled for upcoming missions to the ISS.
COTS 2 Demo Dragon undergoing launch prep at SpaceX hangar in Cape Canaveral.
One of three recovery boats approaches Dragon spacecraft after it has completed its descent.
SpaceX tweeted on Jan. 4, 2012: "First look: Dragon Spacecraft in final processing, getting ready to head to the ISS."
SpaceX tweeted on Jan. 5, 2012: "Photo Update: Falcon 9 in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. Getting ready to make history."
NASA astronauts and industry experts check out the crew accommodations in SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. On top, from left, are NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli and Lee Archambault, and SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree. On bottom, from left, are SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez and NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Tim Kopra. Image released March 16, 2012.
NASA astronaut Rex Walheim checks out SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, which is under development for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Image released March 16, 2012.
NASA astronauts and industry experts are monitored while they check out the crew accommodations in SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, which is under development for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Image released March 16, 2012.
SpaceX tweeted on April 22, 2012: "Another shot from cargo loading with @NASA in anticipation of the upcoming demo flight to the Space Station."
SpaceX tweeted on April 21, 2012: "Earlier this month we worked with @NASA to load cargo into Dragon in advance of our upcoming demo flight."
SpaceX tweeted on March 29, 2012: "Completed another key step on the road to our upcoming launch: Crew Equipment Interface Test at the Cape with @NASA."
SpaceX tweeted on March 21, 2012: "Check out our Dragon engineering model that's been equipped with seats and representations of crew systems."
SpaceX tweeted on March 20, 2012: "Each seat in our Dragon spacecraft will hold an adult up to 6 feet 5 inches tall, 250 lbs."
NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk and SpaceX Commercial Crew Development Manager and former NASA Astronaut Garrett Reisman standing inside the Dragon spacecraft during testing activities. Photo released March 16, 2012.