CRS-18 reaches orbit

A Dragon capsule carrying cargo for the ISS launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 2201 UT 25 Jul 2019

The manifest includes 25 new experiments, including a new 3D printer, with the impressive goal of proving the ability to print human tissues in a remote location, as engineers work toward the goal of printing entire human organs.

This launch also marked an impressive moment for booster reuse – the booster was used just two months ago, a new record for the Falcon 9 first stage. The capsule has also been reused for its third and final flight, though it last flew a comparatively languid 18 months ago, mainly because the Dragon 1 program is soon to be obsolete.

CRS-19 and CRS-20 will burn through the remaining active stock of Dragon capsules, after which the system will be retired in favour of Cargo Dragon 2. SpaceX will also have a new refurbishment facility in Florida for Crew and Cargo Dragon 2, and a goal to accelerate turnaround times. Cargo Dragon 2 missions will start in 2021, beginning with the CRS-21 mission. On the other hand, Crew Dragon 2 might well be able to fly by the end of this year.

Author: Fargo Orbit

The Fargo Orbit delivers science and aerospace news from a vantage point in the centre of North America.