In Photos: SpaceX's Dazzling Dragon Launch to Space Station on CRS-15

Liftoff for SpaceX's Dragon


On June 29, 2018, the private spaceflight company SpaceX successfully launched a used Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station on a Falcon 9 rocket that had also flown in space before. See photos of the CRS-15 cargo resupply mission here! In this official SpaceX photo, the exhaust plume from Falcon 9 forms a brilliant trail in the predawn sky as it reflects sunlight from high above earth.

What a View!

NASA KSC/Twitter

Members of a NASA Social group take photos as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lofts a Dragon cargo spacecraft into orbit. The rocket launched into the morning twilight today at 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT), creating a stunning halo of light in the predawn sky. On Monday (July 2), the Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station with 5,900 lbs. (2,700 kilograms) of supplies for the Expedition 56 crew

Launch Streak!


SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket streaks into space, with the stage separation between first and second stages clearly visible at far left in this long-exposure view from SpaceX.

Remarkable Feat


Astronaut Nicole Stott posted this stunning launch photo of the SpaceX Falcon 9 on Instagram.

Fabulous Flight


SpaceX Dragon mission management director Jessica Jensen promised dazzling views of the SpaceX launch given its timing just before sunrise, and the Falcon 9 delivered in spades.

A Mission Begins


A stunning side view of SpaceX's Falcon 9 launching the 15th Dragon cargo delivery launch for NASA.

Reusing Rockets

Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/Getty

In this long exposure image, a Falcon 9 rocket is illuminated as it leaves Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with a Dragon spacecraft carrying supplies to the International Space Station.

Roaring Toward Space


This view of the Falcon 9's first stage from SpaceX shows plumes from all 9 of the stage's engines as the rocket soared toward space. It was the second flight of this particular booster.

Resupply Mission, Go

Kim L. Shiflett/NASA/CC by 2.0

On June 29, 2018 a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle rises from Space Launch Complex 40 with Dragon full of supplies and payloads for the International Space Station. The supplies include critical materials for several science and research investigations for Expedition 56.

Wispy Trail


The wispy exhaust plume is twisted into dazzling shapes in this view taken after the predawn Falcon 9 launch. The Falcon 9 can be seen speeding toward space and lower right.

Replacement Parts

Kim L. Shiflett/NASA/CC by 2.0

One of the items in the payload is the LEE, or a Canadian-built Latching End Effector, replacing the failed LEE removed in the fall of 2017.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.