SpaceX's recycled Dragon spacecraft reaches space station

Embracing recycling, SpaceX accomplished its first launch of a previously used Dragon cargo ship. On Monday, it reached its destination.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket set off on its CRS-11 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station on Saturday, and on Monday it successfully reached the ISS. 

The launch marked SpaceX's 11th cargo flight to the ISS, but it's the first to use a previously flown Dragon capsule. This Dragon visited the station for a resupply mission in September 2014.

The CRS-11 mission was originally scheduled to take flight on Thursday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but SpaceX rescheduled the launch until Saturday due to lightning.

The refurbished Dragon docked with the station Monday at 6:52 a.m. PT, delivering a 6,000-pound (2,720 kilogram) payload to the awaiting astronauts. The cargo includes materials for over 250 science experiments and investigations covering topics as diverse as combustion in microgravity and seed cultivation.

"We finally caught a #Dragon by the tail and we're not letting go!" tweeted astronaut Jack Fischer, who operated the robot arm that heped guide it into place. "It has a ton of great @ISS_Research aboard (& maybe a little ice cream)." 

Dragon is scheduled to hang out with the space station for a month before returning to Earth with an anticipated splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. 

SpaceX is in the middle of a NASA contract covering up to 20 missions to the ISS through 2024. The CRS-11 mission will mark the 100th launch from the historic LC-39A site, which was previously used as a launch pad for Apollo missions.

Elon Musk's space company has already successfully recycled and relaunched a Falcon 9 rocket.

First published June 1, 2:59 p.m. PT.
Update, June 5, 4:28 p.m. PT:  Added information about successful landing on the ISS. 

Enlarge Image

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft awaits launch to the International Space Station.


First published June 1, 1:12 p.m. PT. 
Updated, 2:45 p.m. PT: The launch has been postponed until Saturday because of lightning. 

Special Reports: CNET's in-depth features in one place.

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.