Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates SpaceX for the completion of its Commercial Orbital Transportation System demonstration with the successful splashdown of the Dragon capsule today. Dragon departed the Station this morning and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, carrying over 1,000lbs of cargo from the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on May 22 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Once in orbit Dragon spent two days catching up to the ISS, completing multiple milestones along the way. After it was cleared by NASA, Dragon then approached the Space Station, where it was grappled by the Station’s robotic arm and brought in to berth, becoming the first visiting vehicle from a private company. On Saturday, May 26 the Station’s Expedition 31 crew opened the hatch to the capsule and began unloading the cargo.
CSF President, Michael Lopez-Alegria said in a statement, “This is an incredible achievement for SpaceX and NASA. Since the retirement of the Shuttle there has been no ability to return a significant amount of cargo aboard any vehicle. Having the capability to ferry payloads to low Earth orbit is essential; having the ability to bring useful cargo such as scientific samples back to Earth will dramatically increase the research capacity of the ISS. CSF commends SpaceX and NASA for the completion of the COTS demonstration, proving that NASA’s use of commercial providers to develop vehicles for the ISS has been a success. NASA and congress should build on this success by robustly funding a competitive commercial crew program that will reduce our dependence on aging Russian infrastructure, ensure the success of the Space Station and keep high-tech jobs here in America.”
CSF Chairman Eric Anderson stated, “The successful return of the Dragon capsule to Earth ends a historic mission for SpaceX, but opens a new chapter of 21st century access to space. The utilization of commercial services for cargo resupply to the International Space Station has now been validated. This success should be viewed as a stepping stone for the industry, and for NASA’s future plans to fly crew to-and-from the space station on commercial vehicles. It’s a seminal moment for the U.S. as a nation, and indeed for the world.”