SpaceX was pretty on point to name its flagship spacecraft Dragon. The fire-breathing spectacle that comes with sending this baby into space is simply unparalleled.
Last July, SpaceX fired a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission was just one of many ongoing launches to send resupply cargo to the station, which has made SpaceX the first commercial company ever to visit the station.
Falcon 9 was designed by SpaceX from start to finish and uses entirely different mechanisms than traditional rockets. The rocket is equipped with a pressurized separation system and an impulse combustion unit (powered by oxygen and kerosene) that is able to deliver a payload to a given orbit.
When Falcon 9 rockets land, they undergo a series of movements allow the booster to navigate its way back to the ground. As they touch down, they have a signature double sonic boom which occur in a pretty rapid succession.
The sound lets people know, “Oh, yeah, the shuttle is coming back,” Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of flight reliability, told Spaceflight Now. “I think it’s going to be the same thing eventually when people get used to this particular sonic boom, being slightly different (than the shuttle’s). They will say, ‘Stage 1 is coming back. Falcon 9 is coming back and landing.’”
The next SpaceX cargo resupply mission, CRS-10, will launch on February 8 at the Kennedy Space Center and carry with it almost 7,000 pounds of cargo, crew supplies, and experiments to be used on the orbiting lab.