Dragon spacecraft

Dragon spacecraft

The launch of the first unmanned Dragon spacecraft has been postponed. Built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)the demonstration flight of the cargo vessel was due for liftoff to the International Space Station on 7 February. A new target launch date has not been set.

André Kuipers and the rest of the resident ISS Expedition 30 crew had been due to receive the Dragon spacecraft on 10 February. After rendezvous with the orbital outpost, Dragon performs the final approach while the ISS crew grapples the vehicle with the Station’s robotic arm.

Once a successful demonstration flight has been completed, Dragon is set join the fleet of cargo spacecraft that carries food, water, equipment and science experiments to the ISS. The cargo spacecraft currently servicing the ISS are Russia’s Progress (next launch 25 Jan), the Japanese HTV and ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle, ATV.

ESA’s third ATV, named after Italian physicist and spaceflight pioneer Edoardo Amaldi, is scheduled for launch to the ISS from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 9 March this year.

Follow the countdown to ATV Edoardo Amaldi in ESA’s ATV blog