All has not been going swimmingly at SpaceX, especially in light of the recent special launch out of Florida that struggled during the separation phase. Still, SpaceX continues to rack up some much-needed wins and most recently their team has been focused on the Dragon Cargo Ship. The Dragon capsule, which was sent up to the International Space Station a month ago, made its return to Earth after wrapping up its delivery mission. The Dragon Supply Ship was released from the ISS via the robotic arm system and it returned to Earth at roughly 4:58 am EST.
SpaceX was quick to announce the return of the Dragon Supply Ship by way of Twitter, sending out the message, “Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed, completing the second resupply mission to and from the @Space_Station.”
The return of the Dragon capsule marks an end to the initial Dragon mission which launched on December 15th and arrived at the ISS on December 17th. This mission was the 13th completed re-supply mission that SpaceX has successfully completed for the team at NASA. The Dragon capsule delivered nearly 5,000lbs of gear for the astronauts on board. Looking past just the payload, the delivery also marked an important milestone for the SpaceX team as it showed an advancement in SpaceX’s focus on reusability. The Dragon capsule, as well as the Falcon 9 booster both, had launched before, having visited the ISS back in 2015. A prevalent mission for SpaceX throughout their lifetime has been to focus on reusability and sustainability so as to reduce costs and make heading to space more frequently possible than before.
Going back to our initial discussion on SpaceX’s recent failure, the government has been relatively mum on exactly what went wrong. The mysterious Zuma mission had been kept under wraps to a startling degree. The Pentagon refuses to confirm or deny exactly what happened, but officials close to the program have said that their supposed spy satellite ended up falling out of orbit before crashing into the Indian Ocean. Sources close to the mission noted that the entire project was worth multiple-BILLIONS of dollars. The rumored failure supposedly belonged to SpaceX during the separation phase but there is no conclusive report at the current moment that accurately pegs what went wrong, and we likely won’t ever get one