Gallery: Dragon, SpaceX's Private Spacecraft

Dragon Spacecraft Landed in the Pacific Ocean


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.

COTS Demo 1 Mission Orbital Path


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.

Dragon Spacecraft Viewed from the Second Stage

SpaceX/Mike Altenhofen

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 Spacecraft Reentering Earth’s Atmosphere


Artist’s rendition of Dragon, thermally protected by SpaceX’s PICA-X advanced heat shield, reentering Earth’s atmosphere.

Dragon Spacecraft with Main Parachutes Deployed


Dragon's three main parachutes fully deployed. Below float two drogue parachutes which deployed first to slow and stabilize the spacecraft.

Falcon 9 Stage Separation


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.

Dragon Capsule Lifted onto Barge

SpaceX/Mike Altenhofen

The SpaceX crew brought Dragon back to the barge where the crane lifted it from the water.

Dragon Spacecraft in the SpaceX Hangar at Cape Canaveral

Michael Rooks/SpaceX

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 SpaceX's Mission Control CenterCredit: SpaceX


SpaceX's Mission Control Center located at their headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Astronauts Cady Coleman and Scott Kelly Visit the Dragon Capsule


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.

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