Final Cargo Dragon Launch Tonight

Yazata Offline
Tonight's the 20th and farewell mission for the trusty Cargo Dragon capsule. They have been flying for eight years (seems like yesterday when they were first unveiled) and this particular capsule will be flying for the third time. In the future, SpaceX unmanned supply missions to the Space Station will be flown by Crew Dragons in robot mode with nobody aboard. I don't know if they will use used ones for cargo missions. NASA only wants to fly astronauts on pristine new ones, but used ones still have a lot of life in them. The Cargo Dragons that are bowing out and receding into history have given good service, having delivered 94,000 pounds of cargo to the ISS. (And returned some 70,000 pounds of stuff from orbit to Earth.) The Cargo Dragons are the only one of the current ISS supply capsules that can reenter the atmosphere from orbital velocity. (And then be reused.) So the ISS astronauts use the other capsules as garbage cans, filling them with waste that needs disposal. There is no garbage collection in space so put it in a capsule that's going to burn up on reentry.

Launch time is 11:50 PM EST Friday March 6 (8:50 PM PST, 4:50 UTC Saturday March 7).

They will be trying to land the booster back at Cape Canaveral (I understand that it's once-flown B1059.) If successful, this will be SpaceX's 50th booster recovery.

Watch on SpaceX here

NSF has a stream here


Beautiful launch, nominal orbit insertion, and a perfect landing back at Cape Canaveral. This was SpaceX's 50th successful rocket landing.

Lots of cheering at SpaceX Hawthorne when the capsule separated from the second stage and unfurled its solar panels. I'm guessing that they are the Cargo Dragon engineers and technicians watching this farewell flight of their baby.


Stage Separation



Elon comments on the landing

"Rocket will land in highest winds ever at Cape Canaveral tonight. This is intentional envelope expansion."
Yazata Offline
This last Cargo Dragon left the Space Station and splashed down in the Pacific off California, for the third time for this particular capsule.

Here's some video of its arrival in the Port of Los Angeles. It's definitely toasty. Clean it up and it's probably good for more, if the Cargo Dragons weren't being retired. Space Station supply flights will now be flown by stripped-down Crew Dragons, without the life-support, seats and controls.

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