A completely revamped SpaceX Dragon cargo ship made its journey successfully to the International Space Station (ISS), on 5 June 2017 while carrying nearly 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of science research, crew supplies and hardware. This marked the Dragon's second trip to the ISS after it was originally flown on SpaceX's fourth resupply mission in 2014.
Live satellite images from NASA showed that the Dragon cargo ship, which was launched from earth on 3 June, 2017, had made its way to the ISS at approximately 13:52 GMT, where it was pulled in by a robotic arm attached to the space station. Once precisely aligned, 16 motorized bolts in the common berthing mechanism drove home to lock the capsule in place.
The launch used a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, and took off from the Kennedy Space Center making it the 100th mission to take place from the historic launch site. About 2.5 minutes after liftoff on Saturday, the Falcon 9's first stage separated, then began maneuvering for a trip back to Earth. About 5 minutes later, the booster made a pinpoint vertical touchdown at Landing Zone 1.
This marks SpaceX’s 11th cargo resupply trip to the ISS under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Also it makes for the first US spaceship to return to the space station since the American space shuttle program ended in 2011. The company plans two more cargo runs this year, one scheduled for launch on 1 August, 2017 and 1, November 2017.
These activities are part of SpaceX's effort to develop reusable spaceflight systems, a key priority for company founder and CEO Elon Musk. SpaceX is working on a version of its Dragon capsule that will carry crew to the space station, perhaps as early as next year.