Skip to main content

SpaceX launches Cargo Dragon to ISS, catches booster on new ship for first time

SpaceX has successfully launched a Cargo Dragon resupply ship on its way to the International Space Station (ISS), where it will deliver both scientific experiments and supplies for the crew. The Dragon was launched using a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:14 a.m. ET (12:14 a.m. PT) on Sunday, August 29, after a one-day delay from its original launch date due to poor weather.

The Dragon will now travel to the space station throughout Sunday before arriving at around 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) on Monday, August 30. This marks SpaceX’s 23rd resupply mission to the ISS.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Cargo Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Cargo Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station. NASA TV

In the most recent update from NASA on the progress of the Dragon, it confirmed that the nosecone was open and the spacecraft had reached orbit and was on its way to the space station: “Dragon’s nosecone is open, and the spacecraft is safely in orbit following a launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:14 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 4,800 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the International Space Station.”

A notable success of this launch was the catching of the first stage booster on SpaceX’s new droneship. The booster is only necessary for the first part of a launch, providing fuel for the difficult climb through the atmosphere against gravity. Once the rocket has reached a certain height, the booster is no longer needed and falls back to Earth. SpaceX has perfected the art of catching these boosters after a launch and reusing them, which should make space launches cheaper in the long run. The company recently debuted its newest droneship for catching boosters, named A Shortfall of Gravitas, which made its first catch yesterday.

SpaceX shared footage of the booster coming in to land on the droneship as well:

Falcon 9’s first stage booster has landed on A Shortfall of Gravitas – first landing on this droneship!

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 29, 2021

Once the Dragon arrives at the ISS it will dock autonomously with the Harmony module, attaching to the forward-facing port. The docking will be overseen by two members of the ISS crew, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur. You can watch the docking live as it will be shown on NASA TV, with coverage beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET (6:30 a.m. PT) on Monday.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
Watch SpaceX’s Starship burn brightly as it hurtles toward Earth
SpaceX's Starship reentering Earth's atmosphere.

SpaceX surprised a lot of people on Thursday morning when its mighty Starship rocket managed not to blow up seconds after liftoff.

The Starship -- comprising the first-stage Super Heavy booster and upper-stage Starship spacecraft -- enjoyed its most successful test flight yet following two short-lived missions in April and November last year.

Read more
SpaceX’s Starship reaches orbit on third test flight
spacex starship third test flight screenshot 2024 03 14 143605

SpaceX's mighty Starship rocket has made it into space on its third test flight. The rocket, launched at 9:25 a.m. ET today, March 14, took to the skies over the Starbase launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas, and made it to orbit but was lost before the planned splashdown in the India Ocean.

The vehicle consists of the lower section, the Super Heavy booster, and the upper section, the Starship or ship. The two were stacked together ahead of today's flight and achieved separation a few minutes after launch. This tricky maneuver involves cutting off most of the booster's 33 Raptor engines and disengaging clamps connecting the booster to the ship. The ship then fires its own engines to head onward into orbit.

Read more
Watch SpaceX’s cinematic video previewing Starship megarocket test
spacex cinematic video previews starship test

After a long wait, SpaceX has finally received permission to launch the third test flight of the Starship, the most powerful rocket ever to have flown.

This means that SpaceX can proceed with its originally stated plan to launch the Starship -- comprising the first-stage Super Heavy booster and the upper-stage Starship spacecraft -- on Thursday, March 14. Digital Trends has all the information you need to watch a live stream of what promises to be a spectacular event.

Read more