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SpaceX spacecraft looks amazing in this new museum display

A SpaceX Dragon capsule that’s been to orbit and back twice has gone on display at the recently renovated Henry Crown Space Center at the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

In a post on social media unveiling the new exhibit, the museum noted that the reusable Cargo Dragon capsule made history in 2012 as the first commercial spacecraft to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). This particular Dragon spacecraft is the CRS-12 and took part in two ISS cargo missions, in 2017 and 2019.

According to the museum’s website, the Dragon on display carried not only cargo such as food supplies, but also experiments that included the Cosmic-Ray Energetics and Mass (ISS-CREAM) study designed to determine the composition of cosmic rays.

“This SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is the center of a new exhibit celebrating its part in history and how innovative technology is writing the future of space exploration,” the museum said. “See the trailblazing spacecraft up close and explore the newly renovated Henry Crown Space Center to consider how much we’ve accomplished in space, and how many more frontiers remain for us to discover.”

The Dragon is all the more special for paving the way for the return of astronaut launches from U.S. soil in 2020 following the end of the space shuttle program nine years earlier. The reusable and similarly designed Crew Dragon capsule has so far made 13 crewed flights to low-Earth orbit, most of them to the space station.

The CRS-12 Cargo Dragon on display made a brief appearance at the museum in December 2022, but is now a permanent exhibit. It’s displayed alongside the Mercury Aurora 7 spacecraft that launched NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter into orbit in 1962 in the fourth crewed flight of Project Mercury, as well as the Apollo 8 spacecraft, which flew the first astronauts close to the moon in 1968, a year before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic landing mission.

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Trevor Mogg
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