Dragon capsule to dock with the ISS

Thu 17 May 2012

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), started by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk will attempt to send its unmanned Dragon capsule to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Dragon will be able to bring cargo safely back to the earth as well. In the forthcoming mission, for instance, it will return over 600 kg of goods, including some used hardware and samples from a materials processing experiment.

The company has configured its Falcon 9 rockets around a single engine that can then be turned out in large numbers. Such high-volume engine production allowed better process control, resulting in much higher quality. To this end, it developed the Merlin engine that runs on liquid oxygen and kerosene. Falcon 9's first stage uses a cluster of nine Merlin engines. Even if one of those engines failed during flight, the company claims that the rocket will be able to successfully complete its mission.

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