SpaceX launches its original Dragon capsule for the last time

Mariella Moon
Associate Editor
SpaceX

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft made history in 2012 by becoming the first ever commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS. Last night, the space company sent the first-gen Dragon on its 20th resupply and its last mission ever -- starting in October, SpaceX will use the upgraded Dragon 2 capsule for it ISS trips. That's not even the only reason this mission is far from your typical resupply run. SpaceX also pulled off its 50th rocket booster landing when the Falcon 9 it used for the flight touched down at its Cape Canaveral facility.

The Dragon spacecraft used for this launch reached the ISS twice in the past, first for a resupply mission in February 2017 and then again in December 2018. Also, the Falcon 9 booster SpaceX used first reached outer space back in December 2019.

The mission's success shows just how far spaceflight has advanced over the past ten years and ever since SpaceX won a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract from NASA in 2008. Reusable boosters and spacecraft are pretty common and even expected now -- in fact, Dragon's second version will have the capability to fly to the space station for up to five times, whereas version one can only last for three.