The Dragon spacecraft can transport up to seven passengers into and out of Earth orbit and beyond. It is the first privately owned spacecraft to carry people to the space station and the only one currently in orbit which is able to return large amounts of cargo to Earth. A total of 16 Draco thrusters are installed on the Dragon spacecraft, and they are utilized for attitude control, orbital repositioning, and apogee/perigee maneuvers during the voyage. In the vacuum of space, each Draco thruster has a force-generating capacity of 90 pounds.
Following a July 14 launch that was postponed by more than a month due to a hydrazine leak on the spacecraft, a SpaceX cargo Dragon space vehicle is now en route to the ISS (International Space Station). At 8:44 p.m. Eastern, a Falcon 9 launched from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Twelve minutes later, the Dragon was placed into low Earth orbit. Around 11:20 a.m. Eastern time on July 16, the spacecraft is slated to dock with the station.
In the Atlantic Ocean, 7.5 minutes after takeoff, the Falcon 9 first stage made a droneship landing. After launching NASA’s Crew-3, CRS-22, Crew-4, and Turksat 5B communications satellites, the stage successfully completed its fifth flight. In contrast to 31 launches for the entirety of 2021, SpaceX has completed 30 launches so far this year.
Science studies, crew supplies, hardware for spacewalks, and other items totaling 2,668 kilos are being carried by the Dragon spacecraft, which is on the CRS-25 mission. Equipment in the spacecraft’s unpressurized trunk portion, weighing 544 kilos, is included in the total.
The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation, commonly abbreviated as EMIT, is an Earth science instrument that will be mounted on the station’s exterior. It is one of the science payloads. The study of atmospheric mineral dust and how it affects ecosystems around the world will be conducted using it.
Robert Green, head of the EMIT project at the JTL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), said during a NASA briefing in June that “we really need to be able to predict how dust interacts with the complete Earth system.” More information on mineral dust will be available through EMIT than from other sensors. The Earth system models will be updated and improved upon using these new measurements, according to the statement. The tool will assist in mission planning for the upcoming missions in the Earth System Observatory series.
At the beginning of June, the CRS-25 mission was supposed to take off. The launch was delayed by NASA and SpaceX, though, after hydrazine was found in the spacecraft’s propulsion system at “elevated vapor readings,” as NASA put it. For its Draco thrusters, which manage its approach to and departure from the ISS as well as deorbiting at the end of the mission, Dragon employs nitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl hydrazine as propellants.