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

Up, Up and Away

Kim L. Shiflett/NASA/CC by 2.0

In the early hours of June 29. 2018 a a Dragon spacecraft atop a reused SpaceX Falcon 9 ascends into the sky. The 15th Commercial Resupply Services mission carries supplies and payloads to the International Space Station.

Liftoff of Falcon 9!


A view from Space Launch Complex 40 as SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket begins the CRS-15 Dragon resupply mission for NASA.

Billowing Plume


Exhaust blooms into a billowing cloud in this view of SpaceX's Falcon 9 lifting off from its pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Meeting the Sunrise

Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/Getty

Just before dawn at Launch Complex 40, SpaceX's Falcon 9 carries supplies to the ISS.

SpaceX CRS-15 Stage Separation


SpaceX's predawn launch of a used Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon on June 29, 2018 created dazzling views from the ground like this one, captured during stage separation.

SpaceX Launches CRS-15


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida before dawn on June 29, 2018. It was the second flight to space for the Dragon and Falcon 9 first stage.

Dragon CRS-15 Separation


SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship separates from its Falcon 9 upper stage after a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on June 29, 2018. It is Dragon's cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station.

Dragon Wings Unfurl


Every Dragon needs its wings and SpaceX's is no different. Here, a solar wing is seen just after unfolding from Dragon, with the Earth as a stunning backdrop, following launch on June 28, 2018.

A Recycled Booster


The Falcon 9 rocket first stage used to launch SpaceX's Dragon CRS-15 mission flew just over two months earlier. On April 2, 2018, it was used to launch NASA's TESS exoplanet-seeking mission. The CRS-15 launch marked the final flight for the booster, and the final flight of SpaceX's Block 4 Falcon 9 design. A new version, the Block 5, will be used for all upcoming flights.

Dragon's Return to Space


The Dragon used on CRS-15 has also flown in space before. In July 2016, it was used to fly SpaceX's CRS-9 cargo mission to the International Space Station (shown here as it arrived on July 20 of that year). SpaceX Dragon mission management director Jessica Jensen said SpaceX hopes to fly its Dragon spacecraft up to three times. So this Dragon could fly another time!

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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.